The 6th annual Ecojustice and Activism Conference took place on March 16-18 at Eastern Michigan University. Sponsored by the Social Foundations of Education Masters Program EcoJustice Concentration the conference this year examined how supremacist discourses (racism and sexism to name a few) are interrelated and the heart of ecological and social problems around the world. Conference topics ranged from combating racial discrimination on college campuses, prison abolotion as radical inclusion, and criminological perspectives on environmental destruction (to name a few.)
The conference engaged activists, educators, students, and scholars in deep and meaningful discussions, reinforcing there is much work to be done in our respective communities. One of the main takeaways was finding collaborative ways to address and eliminate current social and environmental injustices occurring at the local, national, and international level.
The first day of the conference began with two free Pre-Conference Events which included an afternoon seminar offered by Keynote Speaker, Robert Jensen, and a Traveling BusTour of Detroit.
Dr. Jenson, a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Austin writes and teaches on critical approaches to media and power. He addresses many questions dealing with race through a critique of white privilege and institutionalized racism, popular media, both alternative and mainstream. and a plethora of intersecting issues. His free keynote address We Are All Apocalyptic Now: Facing Reality in a Delusional World took place on Thursday evening, March 16, 7:00 pm in 202 Porter.
The traveling bus tour to Detroit was also a great opportunity for conference participants to visit various sights in the Detroit area, including SEMIS Coalition schools and community partner sites.
So what exactly is ecojustice? A brief summary of this field is explained on their conference website stating:
“Ecojustice education is an approach that analyzes the deep cultural roots of intersecting social and ecological crises, focusing especially on the globalizing economic and political forces of Western consumer culture.
EcoJustice scholars and educators also study, support, and teach about the ways that various cultures around the world actively resist these colonizing forces by protecting and revitalizing their commons—that is, the social practices and traditions, languages, and relationships with the land necessary to the healthy regeneration of their communities.
By emphasizing the commons (and its enclosure or privatization), EcoJustice perspectives understand social justice to be inseparable from and even embedded in questions regarding ecological well-being.”
Overall, the feedback from the weekend proved to be a success and all attendees left feeling enlightened, challenged, and ready to return to their respective communities to engage with others on the various issues raised.