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Green Chemistry – The Connection to Environmental Justice

March 19, 2019 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Chemistry has provided significant benefits to society. It has also had major impacts on human and ecosystem health. Chemical accidents like the 1984 Union Carbide plant in Bhopal India, which killed more than 15,000 people, illustrate the potential for chemistry to cause significant harm.  Tragic events on a big scale are just one manifestation of negative impacts of chemistry. People around the planet live with the chemical contamination of their communities, their homes, and their bodies. But we’re not equally exposed.

Minority and lower income communities are disproportionately impacted by chemical exposures.  The Environmental Justice movement arose in the late 1980s in response to well-documented cases of “environmental racism” – where African American and other minority communities were disproportionately exposed to toxic chemical production and waste, while not receiving the economic benefits.  Environmental justice is defined as is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people — regardless of race, color, national origin, or income — with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.

It is essential that chemists practicing green chemistry understand the potential impacts that chemistry can have on communities and ecosystems, as well as the ethical and social considerations underlying the field.  Green chemistry is one potential solution to the impacts communities have faced.

In this webinar moderated by Dr. Joel Tickner (Professor of Environmental Health, University of Massachusetts Lowell), Monique Harden and Martha Dina Arguello – two leaders of the environmental justice movement  – will introduce participants to the concept of environmental justice, how environmental injustice affects communities and the important role that green chemistry and green chemists can play in both improving community and ecosystem health and creating new economic opportunities for communities.  Speakers will discuss ways in which minority and lower income communities can become active participants in the green chemistry movement.

Please join us for this important, solutions-oriented conversation. Register now!

Speaker bios:

Martha Dina Arguello – Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles: For the past 35 years, Martha has served in the non-profit sector as an advocate, community organizer, and coalition builder. She joined PSR-LA in 1998 to launch the environmental health programs, and became Executive Director in November 2007. She is committed to making the credible voice of physicians a powerful instrument for transforming California and our planet into a more peaceful and healthy place.

As a coalition builder, Martha has emphasized the need for local grassroots advocacy working in partnership with statewide policy actions. She is an active board member of numerous organizations, including Californians for Pesticide Reform,  Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy . She was appointed to  California Air Resources Board’s Global Warming Environmental Justice Advisory Committee and 617 Implementation Working Group.

Monique Harden is the Assistant Director of Law and Policy and the Community Engagement Program Manager at the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice. The Center provides research, education, community and student engagement support, as well as worker training in environmental careers. Ms. Harden has more than 20 years of achievements in the practice of law that have helped predominantly African American communities win significant environmental justice victories in the Gulf Coast Region. She is the former co-director of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, a public interest law firm whose representation of Mossville Environmental Action Now achieved the international precedent recognizing environmental racism as a human rights violation and the right of U.S. residents to seek remedies for it at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Ms. Harden has authored papers and lectured on the right of people to live in a healthy environment and the duties of government to protect this right vis-à-vis the U.S. Constitution, international human rights laws, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disability Act, and environmental laws. She has spearheaded local, regional, and international coalitions in support of communities advocating for the human right to a healthy environment. She works to democratize policymaking on environmental matters by supporting community-based organizations to engage policymakers on reducing pollution that harms their health and warms our planet.


March 19, 2019
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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