Environmental conference focuses on communities taking action

Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health hosted the second annual Environmental Justice and Climate Protection Conference on June 15.

The conference was “planned to provide multiple perspectives on the issues that are facing Georgia as a result of climate change and environmental injustices,” according to an introduction video.

The event featured speakers from DeKalb County and other areas of Georgia who discussed examples of environmental justice, community coalition building, and how residents can facilitate environmental change in their communities.

The event was organized by Science for Georgia, Dogwood Alliance, Center for Black Women’s Wellness, and Emory’s Center for Children’s Health Assessment Research and Combating Environmental Racism. In addition to presentations from the organizers, Climate Reality Project, soilSHOP, Environmental Protection Agency, Emory’s Hercules Exposome Research Center, and other groups gave presentations.
Event organizers said community leaders and elected officials, academic and industry experts, and concerned citizens were in attendance and that the goal of the event was to identify innovative solutions and create lasting positive change for all Georgians.

“The conference will not only facilitate insightful discussions but also encourage active brainstorming to identify effective community-based initiatives that can be implemented right away to advance environmental health objectives,” a news release stated.
The event also included calls to action from several speakers, a coalition building workshop, and presentations on tools and resources for communities.

The conference was hosted by Center for Black Women’s Wellness, Charter, Dogwood Alliance, and Science for Georgia. Photos by Jay Phillips

Several examples of how communities in Georgia caused change were given by staff from Emory’s Hercules Exposome Research Center.

Hercules provides community groups with grants and field agents to assist with environmental justice and protection. In the examples given, communities used the grants to raise community awareness, test air quality, and draft documents to pressure and force community and industry leaders to make changes to zoning laws and emission practices.

Hercules staff also showed participants how to request certain information from governments and businesses and how to obtain other resources to test environmental measures such as air quality.

For more information about the conference’s presentations and for links to host and speaker websites, visit: https://sciencelookup.org/knowledge-base1/environmental-justice-climate-protection-conference-ii/.

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