Friday, April 12, 2024

Recently, the CSF and UW Sustainability got the chance to host a session at the Ethnic Cultural Center’s Diversity Leadership Conference titled “Community-based Sustainability: Applying a Just Transition to UW”. Read more below for a recap of our session! 

We explored two questions within our session: How can we center the Just Transition framework and values of equity within our work? What does it look like to build collective action and solidarity within our communities? We explored the impact of traditional environmental narratives which we defined as being: 1) limited in their understanding of climate change impacts and causes and 2) centered around ecosystem health and conservation.

These traditional environmental narratives impact the greater environmental movement where there is a lack of emphasis on the uneven impacts of climate change on low-income BIPOC communities. They fail to acknowledge that people are part of ecosystems as people are not separate from nature. Similarly, this has led to a historically white dominated sustainability movement. How can we integrate diverse worldviews into current narratives? Challenging traditional environmental narratives is important because our identities inform our worldviews. These worldviews are shaped by our experiences. As we work to build a just future for all, we must build a movement that incorporates and respects all experiences.

We were lucky to be joined by an intimate group where we were able to engage in collective visioning and explore our definitions of what sustainability means to different cultures. Thank you to the Ethnic Cultural Center for hosting us at the Diversity Leadership Conference!