Environmental Justice, Science, and Democracy Forum

St. Paul, Minnesota | September 22-24, 2016

Published Aug 24, 2016

Indigenous communities, communities of color, and low-income communities across the United States are fighting for environmental justice (EJ). These communities have been disproportionately burdened by polluting industrial facilities and land and natural resource exploitation, which cause serious health impacts and safety hazards. EJ communities are pushing back, demanding transparency and accountability from policymakers and corporations.

Science could play a powerful role in the EJ movement. But too often, science has been used by powerful interests to minimize and dismiss community EJ concerns. The resulting legacy of mistrust creates serious challenges to productive scientist/community collaboration on EJ issues.

If our nation is to live up to its professed ideals of justice, we must overcome these challenges. Science should be a means, not an obstacle, to achieving environmental justice and informing policy decisions that benefit all. The Environmental Justice and Science Initiative (EJSI) and the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists (CSD) held a three-day forum in St. Paul, Minnesota, to explore the opportunities and challenges faced by EJ activists working with scientists and scientific institutions.

The forum opened on September 22 with an educational public event featuring a panel of community activists, scientists, and policymakers.

Public event

St. Paul Union Depot, 214 4th St. E., St. Paul, MN

Thursday, September 22, 2016

6:00 – 7:00 PM

Reception and welcome remarks:

Cecilia Martinez, Center for Earth, Energy, and Democracy (CEED)

Nicky Sheats, Thomas Edison State College

Blessing by Dave Larsen, Dakota Elder

7:00 – 8:30 PM


Session chair: James S. Hoyte, EJSI member and UCS board member

Interviewer: Derrick Z. Jackson, author and photographer

Cecilia Martinez, CEED

Yanna Lambrinidou, Virginia Tech

Antonio Lopez, Senior Advisor, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization

Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environment Network


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