What you will learn:

As the climate crisis worsens, society is increasingly turning towards companies, corporations, non profits, and local communities for climate leadership. So what can effective climate action look like?

Anyone interested in climate solutions must also be prepared to answer questions such as: “What does racism have to do with climate change? What does environmental justice mean and what does it actually look like in practice?”

This Elective provides an introductory understanding of how polluting industries rely on 'sacrifice zones' created by redlining and segregation to cheaply pollute without much oversight. It is the presence of those ‘sacrifice zones’ that have prolonged the climate crisis and dictated the disproportionate impact of extreme weather and climate disasters on communities of color.

While many have called for individual approaches like turning off the lights or driving less—good climate action offers the possibility to reverse the impacts of systemic racism by prioritizing investments that center communities of color in a new clean energy economy.

This Elective takes an interdisciplinary approach, borrowing lessons and approaches from climate science, public health, sociology and history, in order to get to the real roots and real solutions of the climate crisis. Through our hands-on conversation incorporating visual media, visual data and small group discussions, you’ll gain a lens to analyze root causes—but more importantly, an understanding of how all of us can advocate for real climate solutions that uplift all of our communities and our planet.

About the instructor:

Wes Gobar is a co-founder and Coalitions Lead for Evergreen Action, managing the climate policy and advocacy group’s relationships across the climate movement. He co-founded the BlackOak Collective, a Black environmental networking organization based in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, where he serves as The Director of Outreach. Wes is also the part-time program coordinator at Governing for Impact (GFI) with a portfolio focused on criminal justice reform. At GFI, Wes convened a table to facilitate mutual support among Virginia criminal justice reform advocates. He is an advisory board member for Climate Voice and was recently recognized as one of Grist's 2022 Fifty Climate Fixers. In the fall, Wes will be attending Yale University to pursue a Master of Environmental Management.

Before joining the climate fight, Wes was the Confidential Assistant and Executive Aide to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and a field organizer for the Virginia Democratic Coordinated Campaign. Wes is a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia and a 2018 graduate of the University of Virginia, where he studied History and Government. His writing has been published in Vox and the Washington Post.
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Suggested Length:90 min(Flexible)
# of Employees: Flexible
Format: Live via Zoom
Available Formats:
  • Keynote Followed by Q&A
  • Lecture with Discussion
  • Interactive Workshop

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