Panel looks at greener ways

The University Libraries Multicultural Affairs Committee will host the second in a series of three panel discussions on diversity and the environment today from 10 a.m. to noon in the Jerome Library Pallister Conference Room. This program will focus on how socioeconomic class and race affect environmental decision making.

“I hope people come because they want to know what is going on in the world around us,” said Jeannie Ludlow, a program moderator and undergraduate adviser in the Women’s Studies program. “People are sick and dying because of what we choose to do to our environment.”

Ludlow said that although not everyone will be motivated to hear about others’ struggles, everyone can benefit from this program.

“It may well be that environmental crises affect poor people and people of color first and most intensely, but eventually, we will all be affected,” she said.

“I think many people are not aware of how environmental crises affect some people more than others,” Ludlow said. “For example, because people in the U.S. “vote” with our money, it is nearly impossible to build a highly polluting factory in an upper-middle class white neighborhood.”

She said that the public doesn’t hear the stories of the people whose lives are affected by living near those polluted factories because they do not have much power or presence in the media.

Ludlow also said that we live in a society where actions can imply a lot about what we value.

“The same valuing of wealth and prestige that leads to discrimination against poor people also leads us to buy large, gas-guzzling, expensive automobiles and drive them six blocks to campus, rather than walking or bicycling,” she said.

The panelists include Carolyn Council, a philosophy graduate student, Holly Myers-Jones, Chair of Environmental Programs, Michael Szuberla, Intercity Land Reclaim activist and Rick Van Landingham, environmental community activist and law consultant.

Marcus Ricci from the Center for Innovative and Transformative Education will also be a moderator for the event.

“This is important information, and we have a panel of smart, interesting speakers who will share with us their ideas and concerns and solutions,” Ludlow said.

The next Issues in Cultural Diversity Program will be Wed. March 24 from 10 a.m. to noon. The topic will address the environment and health of women, children, and the aged.

For more information about the Multicultural Affairs Committee Programs, contact Mary Wrighten at 419-372-7897.