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Every year on April 22, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.

While not an official holiday, many folks choose to celebrate their respect for the environment by participating in events that increase public awareness of environmental concerns.

One topic that I’ve chosen to learn more about is Environmental Justice.

Michael Regan, who currently heads the US Environmental Protection Agency, has articulated the concept well in saying: “every person has the right to clean air, clean water and a healthier life, no matter how much money they have in their pockets, the color of their skin, or the community they live in.”

In searching on the topic, I came across the book Environmental Justice and Resiliency in an Age of Uncertainty, published in 2022 and edited by Celeste Murphy-Greene, a faculty member at UVA who focuses on Sustainability and Environmental Justice.

Murphy-Greene provides a framework for thinking about environmental issues by approaching them through a social justice lens. Topics of the book include an overview of Environmental Justice, Climate Justice, Health Equity, Smart Cities, Local Clean Energy, and the role that Public Works and Public Procurement can play in promoting Environmental Justice.

Murphy-Greene says her interest in environmental issues began as a college student when she was lifeguarding in Falmouth, Massachusetts and witnessed a large amount of medical waste wash ashore after a New York City-based barge dumped its contents.

On a different pedagogical note, I recently enjoyed watching My Octopus Teacher, an Academy Award winner from 2021 for Best Documentary Feature, which provides a personal account of filmmaker Craig Foster’s interactions with an octopus.

Foster was inspired to found Sea Change Project, which is dedicated to helping people understand human inter-connectedness with the natural world and to raising awareness for the Great African Seaforest.

You can see a trailer for the film and learn more about Foster’s initiatives at Sea Change Project website.

Happy Earth Day!