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Brown Leadership Institute

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Leadership for Environmental Justice

Course enrollment will be available for this course once it is scheduled.

Course Description

Around the world, the brunt of environmental inequality has disproportionately impacted developing countries, low-income communities, and people of color. Too often, environmental efforts fail to adequately address these pressing realities. Environmental justice, however, strives to provide equal and fair treatment for all people with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and polices.

This timely and highly relevant course will broadly introduce students the central concerns of environmental justice, including the political and economic dimensions of injustice and the movements that seek to rectify environmental disparities and degradation. This course will be divided into three sections, examining a wide range of critical and contentious topics. We will begin with an exploration of the many manifestations of environmental inequality such as toxic exposure and public health disparities, access to natural resources, and the impact of climate change. The second section of this course will examine the causes of environmental inequity, including, regulatory failure, discrimination, colonialism, and the commodification of land and labor. Finally, students will be inspired by those who have sought to rectify these disparities through activism to protect individual communities; policy development and implementation; international advocacy; community based participatory research; and cross movement organizing. To achieve these learning objectives students will utilize academic and popular press articles, as well as in class exercises and field trips. Integrating understanding of environmental justice with different practical solutions will inform students in the development of their own Action Plan by the end of the course. This course provides an excellent foundation for future studies in a range of interdisciplinary social science and humanities fields including: anthropology, environmental studies, development studies, and public policy.

Please Note:

This course is part of the Leadership Institute program, a 2-week immersive experience with busy days. Our mission is to help students develop and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes associated with effective and socially responsible leadership. The Leadership Institute consists of three elements: academic content, leadership development, and the Action Plan. Participants are intellectually curious and compassionate students who are interested in social issues and creating positive change.

Additional programmatic information can be found here

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