"Sustainability" or Survival? Popular Responses to Global Climate Change
Spring 2015 lecture series -- University of Pittsburgh
This video conference series highlights the voices of international and local leaders of grassroots struggles to protect communities from the effects of global warming and to promote climate justice. Speakers explore how climate change and environmental damage disproportionately affect already-vulnerable communities, the limitations of government, UN-based, "free-market," or technological attempts to address climate change, and the rise of popular movements advancing new strategies to build broad-based movements for “system change” rather than climate change.

Confronting Environmental Racism: View from the Front Lines of the Climate Justice Struggle (view recording here) Speakers: Jacqueline Patterson, Environmental and Climate Justice Director, NAACP and Ahmina Maxey, Zero Waste Detroit

These speakers provide accounts of front-line struggles to confront environmental racism and build movements. Sustainability and survival are inseparable concepts for many low-income people and especially communities of color in the United States.

Global Climate Politics: Paralysis Above and Movement Below (view recording here) Speaker: Cindy Wiesner, Director of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

Wiesner situates U.S. climate justice activism in the context of the global justice movement and World Social Forum process that has developed over more than a decade. As a result of transnational organizing, Wiesner argues that we’re seeing the rise of a “new protagonist” led by Indigenous peoples, people from the Global South, and people of color leading grassroots struggles in local communities.

Putting Climate Justice into Action (view recording here) Speakers: Henia Belalia, former national organizer, Peaceful Uprising and Nadine Narindrankura, Diné activist fighting to defend coal impacted communities in the Black Mesa/Big Mountain Region

Speakers consider how the rise of the “non-profit industrial complex” has affected organizing work in local communities that are most impacted by climate change and by extractive industries. They discuss local direct action work to build solidarity, foster connections to the land, and advance struggle in some of these “frontline communities” who experience the most severe impacts on their environments, health, and prospects for community survival.

Culture Against Climate Change (view recording here) Speakers: Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr, Hip Hop Caucus and Michael Leon Guerrero, Executive Director, Our Power Campaign

This session examines the work of leading grassroots climate justice organizations to mobilize young people and to employ cultural resources in the work of building a powerful movement for social transformation. It will take multiple different approaches to help us become “fossil fuel free at last.”

For suggested readings and links see: http://www.ucis.pitt.edu/global/climatechange_dialogueseries