Promoting Professional Development and Best Practice in EE
The 2018 National Environmental Justice Conference - Justice, Equality and Equity for Our Youth and Future Generations
The 2018 National Environmental Justice Conference (NEJC) and Training Program was held April 25-27 in Wash. DC. The conference assembles leaders from various sectors for 3 days of free exchange of ideas and approaches to achieving environmental justice. According to Benjamin F. Wilson, Chairman, Board of Directors (NEJC), this year’s conference theme, Justice, Equality and Equity for Our Youth and Future Generations builds upon the past eleven annual conferences. He reasoned “This conference has done a lot over the years to highlight the issue of environmental justice, but we still have more to do in our efforts to prepare our youth and future EJ leaders to take the mantle in developing capacity building techniques, education, training, outreach, research, policies, broad collaborations and various projects and activities for the benefit of today and the future.
The conference offered many interactive sessions featuring voices of experience, research, discussions and thought-provoking dialogue. The program format featured the needs and challenges of communities, governments, municipalities, tribes, faith-based organizations and others with an interest in environmental justice.
One of the most rousing presentations came from Jerry Jondreua, Director of Recruiting, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Michigan Tech during his "The True Story Place: Injecting Indigenous Knowledge into an Environmental Studies Course" session. “What is the relationship of the people to the land?” he asked. He stressed, “Long before John Muir, Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson, Indigenous people had it figured out. When the environment is healthy, people are healthy! It’s not about humans versus nature but humans being unified and harmonious with nature as one."
The 2019 National Environmental Justice Conference and Training Program will be held March 13-15, 2019 at the Marriott Metro Center, Wash DC. Please visit www.thenejc.org in order to register.
By James Riley McGirt, Manager of Service Learning & Community Engagement, Project Learning Tree and eePRO Green Schools Moderator