Location: Bowdoin / Environmental Studies / Activity / 2014 / Environmental Justice: At the Crossroads with Public Health, Conservation Politics, and Generational Change

Environmental Studies

Environmental Justice: At the Crossroads with Public Health, Conservation Politics, and Generational Change

Story posted January 17, 2014

Event date(s): January 17, 2014 — December 31, 2020

Photo credit: Alternatives for Community & Envrionment (ACE) webpage: "Residents defeat Ethanol train proposal", and ACE Jobs Rally.

Saturday, February 8 2014 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Schwartz Outdoor Leadership Center
49 Harpswell Rd, Brunswick

This program will bring together practitioners and experts in the environmental justice movement who will focus on the interconnected issues of environmental health, and conservation politics. Speakers and participants will also explore and discuss the importance of equity, inclusiveness and diversity for the future of the environmental movement and social change.

Angela Park will be the keynote speaker. Ms. Park is the founder and executive director of Diversity Matters (soon to be Mission Critical), a Fellow of the Sustainability Institute's Donella Meadows Leadership Program, and author of Everybody's Movement: Environmental Justice and Climate Change. Ms. Park is a writer and a consultant to non-profits, governments, foundations, and companies. Much of her work focuses on the integration of social, environmental, and economic issues, and she is a leading expert on equity and diversity in the environmental field in the United States.

  • 9:30-10:00 Registration, and breakfast
  • 10:00-10:15 Welcome: Alithea McFarlane '14 and Courtney Payne '15
  • 10:15-11:30 Environmental Public Health Panel, Tim Ford, Professor, University of New England; Kate Dempsey '88, Director of External Affairs, The Nature Conservancy; and Emily Postman, Membership Coordinator, Environmental Health Strategy Center; moderated by Matthew Klingle, Associate Professor of History and Environmental Studies, Bowdoin College
  • 11:30-11:45 Break
  • 11:45-12:45 Lunch and Keynote: "Integrating Justice and the Environment, A Roadmap for Transformational Impact", Angela Park
  • 12:45-1:00 Break
  • 1:00-2:15 Conservation Politics Panel, Pete Didisheim, Senior Director of Advocacy, Natural Resources Council of Maine; Veronica Eady, Conservation Law Foundation; and Shawn Golding '02, Visiting Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology, Bowdoin College; moderated by Laura Henry, Associate Professor of Government and Legal Studies, Bowdoin College
  • 2:15-2:30 Break
  • 2:30-3:15 Empowering the Next Generation: Teona Williams ’12, Watson and Udall Fellowship recipient; Dave Jenkins, REEP Program Director, Alternatives for Community and Environment; and Casey Meehan, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Education, Bowdoin College; moderated by Angela Park.
  • 3:15-4:00 Wrap-up discussion: Angela Park

This program is free to Bowdoin students, staff, and faculty. A $10 registration fee to cover lunch is asked of other participants.


  • Environmental Public Health: Panelists will discuss specific initiatives and broader strategies to address environmental health disparities that disproportionately affect racial/ethnic minorities and low-income populations, with particular attention to rural and ethnic minority populations.
  • Conservation Politics Panel: Conservationists have begun to recognize that the obstacles to environmental protection are not just scientific but political and social. Biology and ecology alone will not solve our dire environmental problems if they fail to address economic inequality, public health, demography, and a host of other issues. The panel will discuss idea of pristine wilderness, the impact the construction of protected areas on indigenous peoples, tensions between anthropocentric and ecocentric visions of environmentalism, and strategies to address the inequality that often accompanies the creation of protected areas. Also explores the nature of the conservation movement and the need to connect with other movements to broaden membership and support.
  • Empowering the Next Generation Presentations: While the speakers’ audiences may differ, their core message remains: increasing marginalized youth’s access to the natural world and bettering their understanding of environmental injustices at home fosters the belief that environmental issues are both culturally relevant and important for building stronger and healthier communities.

Speakers and panelists include:

Angela Park, is a writer, independent consultant, and founder/executive director of Diversity Matters: changing the culture of change. Much of her work focuses on the integration of social, environmental, and economic issues. She is a leading expert on diversity in the environmental field in the United States, combining a unique high-level policy background and organization development expertise. Angela has more than 20 years of experience in equity, diversity and inclusion, organization development, culture change, sustainable development policy, environmental justice, and leadership.

Angela researched and wrote the 2009 report, Everybody’s Movement: Environmental Justice and Climate Change. Angela’s most recent articles have been published in Grist Magazine and The Diversity Factor, in addition to being featured in an Audubon Magazine article, Facing the Future. Listen to her Audubon Magazine interview on diversity in the environmental field.

Kate Dempsey '88 directs the External Affairs team and represents The Nature Conservancy in Maine before the U.S. Congress and the administration. After graduating from Bowdoin College Kate served as a VISTA volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and then worked for The Friends Committee on National Legislation. She received an M.A. from Tufts University Department of Urban and Environmental Policy (1992) and ran one of Massachusetts’ first tobacco control policy groups. From 1994-2000, Kate was economic development and district director to U.S. Representative Marty Meehan. She moved to Maine in 2000 and worked for U.S. Rep. Tom Allen before joining The Nature Conservancy in 2003.

The Nature Conservancy is a science-based international, nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. They work in all 50 states and in 31 countries and are supported by more than one million members. The Conservancy has been working in Maine for some 57 years and is the 12th largest landowner in the state, owning and managing some 280,000 acres. They also work across the state to restore rivers and with fishermen in the Gulf of Maine to rebuild groundfish populations.

Pete Didisheim, has been the Senior Director of Advocacy at Natural Resources Council of Maine since 1996. He holds a B.A. from Williams College in biology and environmental studies and a master’s in public administration from Harvard University’s, Kennedy School of Government. Among numerous governmental positions, Pete has been chief of staff for U.S. Congressman George Brown, Jr. (D-CA), special assistant to U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Hazel R. O'Leary, and executive director of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. Pete has worked for other nonprofits and serves on the board of the Maine League of Conservation Voters.

Veronica Eady,Vice President of Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice for Conservation Law Foundation. Veronica joined CLF after spending five years in Berlin, Germany working as a consultant specializing in environmental justice and human rights on global, national and local levels. Prior to her move abroad, she was Associate General Counsel and Director of Environmental Justice at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, a non-profit civil rights law firm in New York City.

Tim Ford, Ph.D., Professor, University of New England (UNE); past Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies, UNE; past Interim Dean of Westbrook College of Health Professions. Tim Ford specializes in source and drinking water microbiology, marine microbiology waterborne disease, and environmental health. Tim has both directed and participated in water quality related projects in the US, Canada, the UK, Mexico, India, Russia and the Philippines, and is currently building collaborations with colleagues in Hong Kong and China. As a faculty member at the Harvard School of Public Health, he both founded and directed the School's Program in Water and Health. Ford is currently PI on an EPA funded grant to conduct a "Community Based Risk Assessment of Exposure to Contaminants via Water Sources on the Crow Reservation in Montana".

Dave Jenkins, Program Director for REEP: Roxbury (MA) Environmental Empowerment Project, an initiative of Alternatives for Community and Environment. Dave Jenkins joined the staff of Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE) in 2008. ACE builds the power of communities of color and low-income communities in Massachusetts to eradicate environmental racism and classism, build healthy, sustainable communities, and achieve environmental justice. Dave directs ACE's youth-led program, the Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project (REEP), which builds youth voice, power and movement to fight for environmental justice and win. He supports REEP's high school-age membership to develop and deploy campaigns for food justice, community control of land, air quality, health equity, and affordable, reliable, public transportation. Dave also serves on the board of directors for Haymarket People's Fund, a foundation based in Boston that resources grassroots anti-racist organizing across New England. He was previously the lead organizer of the Boston-area Youth Organizing Project and graduated from Harvard College in 2005. He is dedicated to dismantling capitalism and white supremacy, and also loves ice fishing and partridge hunting near his hometown, "the Magic City," Millinocket, Maine. To learn more about REEP's initiatives, see the website.

Sean Mahoney '86 will not be able to join us for the day, due to a last minute conflict.

Emily Postman is Membership Coordinator at the Environmental Health Strategy Center. In this role, she is responsible for recruiting new supporters for the organization and coordinating and implementing the program to build our individual supporter base. Emily graduated from College of the Atlantic in 2011, where she studied Human Ecology with a focus on Environmental Justice and Food Systems. Her thesis explored coalitions between labor unions and environmental organizations around toxics issues. In college, she worked on public health issues on local and national scales – in her own community, as well as at Food & Water Watch in D.C., and the Silent Spring Institute in Boston.

Teona Williams '12 (ES/History) "grew up all over the country". She now lives in Washington, D.C. While at Bowdoin, she worked for the History department and at the Center of Teaching and Learning. She interned at the Wilderness Society and The Nature Conservancy, was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, and the recipient of the Udall and Watson Fellowships. Teona is now working as a communications assistant for International Environmental Initiatives at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

For more information please contact Rosie Armstrong, 207-725-3396, rarmstro@bowdoin.edu.

Hosted by: the Environmental Studies Program, Sustainable Bowdoin and the McKeen Center for the Common Good. Co-Sponsored By the Departments of Africana Studies, Earth & Oceanographic Science, Gender and Women’s Studies, Government and Legal Studies, History, Math, Philosophy, Sociology and Anthropology, and the Asian Studies Program.

Photo credit: Jobs Rally, Alternatives for Community and Environment: Building Power for Environmental Justice, ACE webpage

We must create new partnerships and a new framework, connecting seemingly disparate issues and addressing the systemic inequities and chronic dilemmas facing communities, people, and ecosystems across the planet. Angela Park, Everybody's Movement: Environmental Justice and Climate Change