Recently, I have been giving guest lectures to classes at UD on why a social and environmental justice perspective is important for students in the natural sciences. In spring 2019 semester, for example, I gave two guest lectures to the graduate course Plant and Soil Sciences (PLSC 608), taught by Dr. Don Sparks and Dr. Jason Fischel. In those lectures and discussions, I emphasized why the students’ training and skill sets are particularly salient to environmental justice communities in addressing legacies of social structural injustice. By providing a lens on the social sources of environmental injustice to natural science students, we can help to foster well-rounded scientists that use their training to not only advance science, but address social and environmental inequities by prioritizing historically burdened communities for cleanup and remediation. The work was supported by a grant from the Center for Science, Ethics, and Public Policy at the University of Delaware.
Example of questions I ask students when we consider the roles of scientists in collaboration with environmentally burdened communities (drawn from the work of Sabrina McCormick).