Robert Bullard, often called the father of environmental justice and a leading campaigner against environmental racism, will give the keynote address for the university’s annual Earth Day celebration on Tuesday, April 22, at 7 p.m. in Mahar Auditorium.
Named by Newsweek as one of the 13 Environmental Leaders of the Century, Bullard is the author of 17 books that address sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, emergency response, smart growth, and regional equity.
This year’s Earth Day theme is “Climate Change: Building a Diverse Movement for Environmental Justice and Sustainability.” Organizers hope the campus community will reflect on Bullard’s decades-long campaign against eco-racism and be inspired to take action toward building more diverse and inclusive coalitions for the sustainability movement on campus and in the broader community, says Ezra Small, campus sustainability manager.
“We hope that by studying and following Dr. Bullard’s work, we can engage a broader, more diverse community of people in the sustainability conversation,” he adds.
Bullard’s talk kicks off four days of campus activities held in conjunction with the YWCA’s annual Stand Against Racism campaign. Other campus Earth Day events include a Protect Our Breasts fundraising Yogathon with continuous yoga instruction from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the Fine Arts Center plaza and a Sustainability Fair on the Goodell lawn from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The fair will feature interactive student group tables, music, trivia and other games, a series of spin bikes for students to try out, and garden/farm market booths to promote sustainable health on campus.
In keeping with this year’s theme, a community panel on environmental justice featuring hip hop activist and 2008 Green Party vice presidential candidate Rosa Clemente, Holyoke mayor Alex Morse, youth director Ibrahim Ali of the Springfield Gardening the Community Project, and Diego Angarita of Nuestras Raices will be held in the Commonwealth Honors College Events Hall from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. A campus dialogue, “Building Diverse Movements for Environmental Justice and Sustainability,” will follow from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
All Earth Day events are free and open to the public.