Climate Justice in Academia: A Graduate Student-Led Initiative for Learning, Community, and Action

Monday 4:30pm-6:00pm Quad
Poster Session Part of Monday Poster Session


Kira Fish, University of California-Los Angeles
Sara Graves, University of California-Los Angeles
Surabhi Biyani, University of California-Los Angeles
It is well established that climate change disproportionately affects traditionally marginalized groups, including low income communities, people of color, and the global South. Despite this reality, climate justice is often not included in traditional geoscience curricula, and conversations about justice are often relegated to the margins. In response to this gap, graduate students at UCLA established a reading group in the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences department to explore climate justice topics and to create a space for meaningful dialogue on issues of environmental racism, social justice, and the responsibility of academics to address these issues in research and teaching. This poster presentation will highlight the objectives, structure, and outcomes of this reading group, which was composed of both graduate students and postdoctoral scientists.
Our group engaged in a 10-week series of weekly meetings to critically analyze and discuss literature that highlights the intersections between climate change research and social and environmental justice. As a part of this, we provided a space for ~15 participants to reflect on opportunities for climate justice within their own academic work and highlighted events and organizations in our community that were already engaged in climate justice work. Ultimately, our reading group aimed to build a community of scholars committed to advancing the cause of climate justice in academia and to equip that community with foundational knowledge as they enter into the climate justice advocacy space.
By sharing our experiences, we hope to provide insight to graduate students, postdocs and faculty looking to prioritize climate justice in their research, teaching, and advocacy and create their own climate justice focused communities. We also hope to learn from others' experiences as we work to create a more enduring climate justice framework within our department that will foster long-term engagement and participation.