Surviving Catastrophe: Public Health and Solidarity in an Era of Climate Change

Project Size: Small, <$1,000
Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: $550

Letter of Intent:

Our Registered Student Organization, Radical Public Health, is planning an event titled "Surviving Catastrophe: Public Health and Solidarity in an Era of Climate Change". We are organizing this event because we believe that, in the current political context, it is more important than ever to have honest, unapologetic discussions about the root causes and myriad dangers of climate change while we, as students, prepare to inherit this future. The event, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for 3/1 from 5pm-7:30pm in SCC 316, and will consist of a lecture by Rob Wallace, a scholar based at the University of Minnesota, followed by a panel discussion led by four speakers from the Seattle-based activist group Women of Color Speak Out. We are requesting $550 from CSF in order to increase the diversity of views presented and backgrounds represented at our event by inviting more speakers from Women of Color Speak Out.
 
Rob's lecture is titled "Capitalocene Park: Lucrative Risks in Neoliberal Public Health", and will focus on threats to public health and other dangers of climate change in the context of John Bellamy Foster and Jason Moore's debate over the effects of capitalism on nature (and more specifically on influenza and other pathogens). Rob is an evolutionary biologist and public health phylogeographer who has published dozens of articles on agriculture, infections, ecological resilience, and dialectical biology. In 2013 and 2014, he gave four popular seminars at UW’s Jackson School and Simpson Center.  
 
The Women of Color Speak Out discussion panel will be an interactive session focused on climate change, its connection to systems of oppression, and intersectional activism. The panelists from Women of Color Speak Out are Sarra Tekola, Afrin Sopariwala, Yin Yu, and Zarna Joshi. Sarra Teokla is a scientist and activist who works on the intersecting movements of Black Lives Matter, mass incarceration, and climate justice. Afrin Sopariwala is a climate justice activist who brings spiritual activism and an intersectional framework to the mainstream climate movement. Yin Yu is a systems practitioner who creates spaces that allow for connection and exploration. In her work, she searches for patterns, paradoxes, and leverage points in complex systems. Zarna Joshi is a writer, organizer and public speaker who has published books on Hindu spirituality, self-examination, and cross-cultural understanding. She frequently appears in the media to provide perspectives on climate justice and social justice. Women of Color Speak Out have presented at a number of public and private spaces around Seattle; their public events have each been attended by around 200 people.
 
Our event will provide a space for radical perspectives focused on the structural causes of the climate crisis, including our economic system and neocolonialism. We believe that audience members will come away from the event with a deeper understanding of the root causes of the crisis, as well as concrete steps for participating in climate justice activism in Seattle. This consciousness-raising effort may increase the sustainability of the practices of attendees, including UW students, by encouraging them to, e.g., re-examine their consumption patterns in light of this improved understanding of the role of economic systems in changing our climate.
 
Our specific goals for the event are to:

  1. Contribute to the debate on the root causes of climate change by incorporating diverse and radical viewpoints in order to inform the conversations on healthy and sustainable alternatives.
  2. Expand the discussion on the social determinants of health and their relation to economy, power and the environment under 21st century globalization.
  3. Create a creative and engaging space by students and for students, in collaboration with other members from Seattle and UW’s community.

Radical Public Health will leverage its broad base to draw students, faculty, and staff to the event from a variety of departments across campus; our listserv currently contains nearly 400 hundred members from UW and the broader Seattle community. We will be printing posters as well as attempting to include our event in newsletters such as the SPH News Catcher. Moreover, our sponsors GPSS and ASUW have offered to advertise the event through their networks.
 
Our RSO advisor, Phil Hunt, has supervised us throughout the planning process. We have already received a majority of our required funding from GPSS, ASUW, and the Alumni Association Fund, but are requesting $550 from CSF so we can invite four panelists from Women of Color Speak Out and rent two more microphones. Our complete budget is below:
 

Expense Cost  Notes
Rob Wallace $1,400  $1000 Honorarium and $400 flight
4 Speakers, Women of Color Speak Out $1,000  $250 per speaker
Event Space, SOCC 316 $300  $90/hr for room
 $120 for 2 wired microphones
Print advertising $100  
TOTAL COST OF EVENT: $2,800  
         Funding currently received $2,250  From GPSS, ASUW, and UWAA
Total requested from CSF $550  

As for our timeline, we have been planning this event since the beginning of the 2016-2017 academic year. It will take place on the evening of March 1st, 2017, from 5 to 7:30.

Primary Contact First & Last Name: Nicholas Graff