Talking environmental justice

The issue of environmental justice will be the featured topic at a pair of upcoming events.

To mark Earth Day, the Detroit Audubon Society is hosting a panel discussion on Saturday, April 10, at the U-M Dearborn School of Management.

The discussion, which begins at 10 a.m., includes academics, government bureaucrats and community activists. Among those scheduled to participate are Dr. Michael Harbut, a specialist in environmental medicine; John Johnson Jr., executive director of the Detroit NAACP; Sarah Lile, director of Detroit’s Department of Environmental Affairs; and Donele Wilkins, executive director of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice.

The panel will discuss the goal of environmental justice and how close society is to achieving that goal as well as the costs of attaining environmental justice goals, the effects on development, and whether minority communities are disproportionately impacted by pollution.

Following the discussion, there will be a lunch and awards ceremony honoring activists Bruce Jones and Pat Hartig for their work in defending the Humbug Marsh. Tickets are $5 for the discussion only and $15 for both the panel discussion and lunch. For more information phone 248-545-2929.

Another high-powered panel will convene Monday, April 12, at the Wayne State University Law School. The keynote speaker is Dr. Robert Bullard, director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University and one of the founders of the environmental justice movement. Following his presentation there will be a panel discussion that includes Pat Spitzley of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Kary Moss of the Michigan American Civil Liberties Union, the Sugar Law Center’s Julie Hurwitz and attorney Daniella Landers of the firm Honigman, Miller, Schwartz and Cohn. The free event, sponsored by the university’s Journal of Law In Society, begins at 4 p.m. For more information contact Nimish R. Ganatra at 313-993-4229.

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