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Environmental Justice in the Energy Age:
Meeting Energy Demand with Equity

Friday, September 14, 2007
Roger Williams University School of Law
Bayview Room, Bristol, RI

Agenda | Summary

As oil supplies dwindle and alternative energies become more commonplace, the supply of energy is becoming a major environmental and social issue. From the siting of coal-fired power plants to the deforestation of mountain ranges for the purpose of erecting wind turbines, the goal of meeting American energy needs often conflicts with or decreases our quality of life with regard to environmental and social impacts. This workshop will ask whether these impacts disproportionately affect those without political power, and how the approaches toward meeting energy demands with equity varies throughout the nation.

In this one-day workshop, we will discuss the principles of environmental justice, with a focus on the environmental and social impacts of energy production and consumption. Invited speakers will address the scientific, legal, journalistic, and community perspectives on how traditional and alternative energy production impacts under-represented populations, and efforts to engage these disenfranchised voices to create equitable outcomes. The workshop will culminate in a discussion about the global impacts of energy consumption, using the high-tech industry as an example. Speakers are asked to highlight environmental and social justice resources and to conclude their remarks with their perspectives on successes and failures of addressing equity issues in the context of energy demand.

The workshop is co-sponsored by the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting and the Marine Affairs Institute at Roger Williams University School of Law to provide exposure to and an opportunity for discussion about social justice issues and the environment. Attendees will include both graduate students and professionals. The professional attendees will be recipients of the 2007-2008 Metcalf Institute Diversity Fellowships in Environmental Reporting. These Fellows are early-career journalists who will be conducting independent environmental studies at the University of Rhode Island in September, followed by a nine-month environmental reporting assignment. Graduate student attendees are Fellows from Roger Williams University School of Law and three departments of the University of Rhode Island: Marine Affairs, Oceanography, and Natural Resource Economics, who are taking part in a multi-session interdisciplinary look at environmental justice.

For more information, contact:

Sunshine Menezes, Ph.D
Executive Director
Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting
Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island Narragansett Bay Campus, Narragansett, RI 02882
Office: 401.874.6499 * Fax: 401.874.6486 *

Kristen M. Fletcher
Director, Marine Affairs Institute & Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program
Roger Williams University School of Law
10 Metacom Ave., Bristol, RI 02809
Office: 401.254.4613 * Fax: 401.254.5735 *

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October 12, 2007