Environmental Justice and Federal Policy with guest Kyle Whyte, PhD
Indigenous systems of care for the natural world and all its inhabitants are rooted in a belief in mutual moral responsibilities in the circle of life. Indigenous groups worldwide have cultivated deep knowledge and practices for living sustainably within the natural environment. The indigenous model is very different from the careless rapacity of the “extract, burn, dump” mindset that has created the existential climate crisis now threatening all living systems on the planet.
What can we learn from indigenous leaders as we try to find morally responsible and effective solutions to this man-made crisis? How do we ensure that proposed solutions do not further hurt the black, brown, indigenous, and poor communities that already suffer from severely unequal distribution of pollution and toxic waste? How do we ensure that indigenous voices are heard and respected in the search for equitable solutions?
Kyle Whyte, PhD, is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and is the George Willis Pack Professor of Environment and Sustainability, focus on Environmental Justice, at UM’s School of Environment and Sustainability (SEAS). Professor Whyte currently serves on the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, the Management Committee of the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, the Board of Directors of the Pesticide Action Network North America, and many other national, regional, and state bodies addressing environmental inequity from the indigenous perspective.