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UO’s new institute fighting the common roots of racial and environmental injustice


The PNW Just Futures Institute aims to re-center the environmentalism debate on the most vulnerable people

Your browser does not support the audio element. 2020 was a year when many of our society’s problems became impossible to ignore. The summer of protests for racial justice led to more frank and public discussions about Oregon’s racist history, and September’s wildfires burned 1.6 million acres, illustrating the increasing urgency of climate change.

But an increasing number of academics, environmentalists and activists are asserting that these aren’t two disconnected issues; that they’re intertwined, with common roots in the same societal forces.

The University of Oregon is starting a new institute to look at the intersection of racial and climate justice. Earlier this year, UO received a $4.52 million dollar grant from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation to support a three-year environmental humanities initiative called the “Pacific Northwest Just Futures Institute for Racial and Climate Justice.” It’s a collaboration with the University of Idaho and Whitman College in eastern Washington to fund research, publications, community engagement and to expand access to higher education for historically underrepresented communities.

The new institute’s director Dr. John Arroyo recently talked with OPB about the disproportionate toll the climate crisis has […]

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