Global Sustainability Initiative at Purdue


Environmental justice (EJ), or the issue of ensuring fair access to environmental decision making and resources for all groups in society, is a critical issue. As part of Purdue’s new “building sustainable communities” initiative, the Discovery Park Center for the Environment is organizing an international workshop on environmental justice on the Purdue campus on April 24-25, 2014.  Co-sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts Center for Research on Diversity and Inclusion, the workshop will feature a Thursday evening keynote address by Dr. Julian Agyeman of Tufts University on the topic of “Just Sustainabilities” (4:30pm, Fowler Hall), followed by a full day of presentations and discussions in a smaller workshop setting on Friday April 25, in the Prusecki Room at the Dauch Alumni Center on the corner of Wood and Grant Streets in West Lafayette.

We invite Purdue faculty and students interested in these issues to attend the Friday sessions, which will be designed for significant audience interaction with the speakers. No registration is required, but seating will be limited to about 60 to ensure a discussion-oriented event, so plan to arrive early to get a seat!

Videos from the Workshop

Schedule of Events

Environmental Justice and Equitable Access to Natural Resources

April 24, 2014

Fowler Hall, Stewart Center


Just Sustainabilities: Reimagining E/Quality, Living Within Limits

Keynote Lecture by Professor Julian Agyeman, Tufts University

View lecture details

April 25, 2014

Dauch Alumni Center

9:15-9:30 Workshop Opening Remarks

Gender and Environmental Justice

Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, Alaska Wilderness

Rebecca Hardin, University of Michigan

Sharlene Mollett, University of Toronto

Laura Zanotti, Purdue University

11:30-1:00  Lunch (provided for those attending morning or afternoon sessions)

Environmental Justice and Access to Basic Resources

Fenda Akiwumi, University of South Florida

Leila Harris, University of British Columbia

Gerald Shively, Purdue University

3:15-4:00  Closing comments and future plans

Click here to view the speaker bios

Click here for a map to the Dauch Alumni Center

Speaker Bios

Dr. Julian Agyeman, Ph.D. FRSA

Julian Agyeman Julian Agyeman is a Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University, Medford, MA. He is the originator of the concept of 'just sustainability' the full integration of social justice and sustainability, defined as 'the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, whilst living within the limits of supporting ecosystems.'

He is an environmental social scientist with degrees in botany, geography, conservation policy and environmental education. He thrives at the borders and intersections of a wide range of knowledges and methodologies and utilizes these in creative and original ways. His expertise and current research interests are in the complex and embedded relations between humans and the environment, whether mediated by institutions or social movement organizations, and the effects of this on public policy and planning processes and outcomes, particularly in relation to notions of justice and equity. He is co-founder, and Editor-in-Chief of the international journal 'Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability.' With over 150 publications, his books include 'Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World' (MIT Press 2003); 'Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice' (NYU Press 2005, 'Environmental Inequalities Beyond Borders: Local Perspectives on Global Injustices' (MIT Press 2011) 'Cultivating Food Justice : Race, Class and Sustainability' (MIT Press 2011) and 'Introducing Just Sustainabilities: Policy, Planning and Practice' (Zed Books 2013). He was founder in 1988 of Britain's Black Environment Network (BEN) and is currently a member of several advisory and journal editorial boards.


Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, Alaska Wilderness

Rosemary AhtuangaruakRosemary Ahtuangaruak (Ah-tongue-goo-rock) is Inupiaq ("In-oo-pea-at") and an Inupiaq activist, and Tribal Liaison for Alaska Wilderness League in Barrow, Alaska. She is a graduate of the University of Washington Medex Northwest Physician Assistant Program. She has fought tirelessly for the health and protection of her people and of the Arctic's unparalleled wilderness that has sustained her culture for thousands of years. Rosemary is a former mayor of Nuiqsut, and served on the regional tribal council for 15 years, as well as served on the tribal and city council in Nuiqsut for many years, and is an advisor for the executive council and staff for the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council. Rosemary currently participates with the National Tribal Health Think Tank with the office of tribal affairs of the center for disease control and the North Slope Regional Advisor Council Co-Chair for the federal subsistence advisory council. She is a founding board member of REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands).

Rebecca Hardin, University of Michigan

Rebecca HardinRebecca Hardin teaches courses in both SNRE and the Department of Anthropology. Her areas of interest and scientific study include human/wildlife interactions, and social and environmental change related to tourism, logging, conservation and hunting in the forests of Central Africa. Recent projects focus on the increasingly intertwined practices of health and environmental management in southern and eastern Africa. She also studies historical and ethnographic aspects of concessionary politics involving corporations, NGOs, and local communities, particularly in Africa. She advises students interested in international environmental practice and policy, wildlife management, human relationships to landscape, environmental justice, and cultural dimensions of natural resource management.

Sharlene Mollett, University of Toronto

Sharlene MollettSharlene Mollett is an Assistant Professor in the Centre for Critical Development Studies and Geography Department at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. She holds a BA in International Studies from Glendon College and Masters in Environmental Studies from York University. She also holds a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Toronto. As a political ecologist and critical cultural geographer, Sharlene's research is positioned at the intersection of postcolonial political ecology and critical racial studies. Her work interrogates the multiple ways racial ideologies and patriarchy shape natural resource conflict and management in Latin America, specifically in Honduras and Panama. Broadly her research interests include place-specific representations and meanings of race and gender and the ways these subjectivities are embedded in development practice; how indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, and non-indigenous campesinos are incorporated into protected area management; and the spatial-temporal practices of indigenous and Afro-descendant resistance to mainstream development paradigms. Her work is published in such journals as the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Latin American Research Review, Geoforum, Gender, Place and Culture, and Cultural Geographies. Sharlene lives in Toronto.

Laura Zanotti, Purdue University

Laura ZanottiLaura Zanotti is a sociocultural anthropologist and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Purdue University. Zanotti completed her Ph.D. at the University of Washington in 2008 and joined the Anthropology faculty at Purdue University in Fall of 2009. She specializes in environmental anthropology, political ecology and ethnoecology. Zanotti has worked with the Kayapó tribe since 2006 on the issues of community-conservation partnerships, environmental justice issues, and resistance strategies. She has recently started working alongside communities in Alaska on questions surrounding resilience in the twenty-first century.

Fenda Akiwumi, University of South Florida

Fenda AkiwumiProfessor Akiwumi's research takes a holistic approach to understanding resource utilization in sectors such as water, minerals, and forests. Her ongoing research projects are in Sierra Leone (environmental deterioration, sustainable livelihoods of women, and water conflicts in mining areas). She is interested in the political ecology of the production, management and distribution of these resources. Her work in this area engages issues in broad areas: resource extraction and policy, resource problems (equitable distribution, environmental deterioration, conflict), and resource issues (sustainability and development, livelihoods, gender, cultural diversity). Her focus area is West African development issues where she studies the intricate relationships between sustainable resource use and development, livelihoods, culture and conflict in this region. She also researches the interconnection between urban water provision, perceptions, wetlands, and climate change in the Tampa Bay region. She uses development theories such as world-system, political ecology and sustainable livelihoods framework and a mix of quantitative and qualitative field data collection methods for a holistic analyses that examines the interaction of political, economic, and socio-cultural institutions with natural systems and consequences for environmental and cultural sustainability.

Leila Harris, University of British Columbia

Leila HarrisLeila Harris is an Associate Professor with the Institute on Resources Environment and Sustainability and with the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, and also serves as Co-Director of the Program on Water Governance at the University of British Columbia. Trained as a political and socio-cultural geographer (PhD Minnesota), her work examines social, cultural and political-economic dimensions of environmental and resource issues, especially in developing contexts. Earlier work highlighted water politics, use and development in the Middle East, particularly associated with large-scale transformations in the upper Tigris-Euphrates basin. Current research focuses on the intersection of environmental issues and inequality / social difference (especially gender and ethnicity), water access and governance (with attention to narrative, citizenship and everyday meanings, as well as multi-scalar issues associated with ongoing neoliberalization shifts, particularly in Ghana and South Africa), as well as water and justice issues important for the Canadian context (e.g. First Nations water governance in British Columbia).

Gerald Shively, Purdue University

Gerald ShivelyGerald Shively is a Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University. He currently serves as Associate Department Head and Director of the M.S. and Ph.D. programs in Agricultural Economics. He received his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics from the University of Wisconsin- Madison in 1996. Working in collaboration with students and a world-wide network of colleagues, he conducts research on a range of topics related to poverty, economic development and the environment in developing regions of the world. He is the author of more than 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and numerous other publications. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development and the World Bank. He has been designated a Purdue University Faculty Scholar, was the 2007 recipient of Purdue's Agricultural Research Award, and received the 2012 Outstanding Graduate Educator award in Purdue's College of Agriculture. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Agricultural Economics, the flagship journal of the International Association of Agricultural Economists and sits on the Editorial Policy Board of the journals Land Economics and Environment and Development Economics. In addition to these duties, he is actively involved in the Purdue Climate Change Research Center and Purdue's Center for Global Food Security.