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« InTeGrate: Environmental Justice and Freshwater Resources Discussion

Around-the-table introductions  

This post was editted by Alice Newman on Feb, 2016
Hello everyone,

Welcome to the InTeGrate Environmental Justice and Freshwater Resources Teaching Interest group! We acknowledge that it's been quiet around here and it's possibly been many months since you signed up for this group.

We would like to launch this virtual group formally to help you get to know each other and begin to make use of the interest group. You are all interested in the InTeGrate teaching module and how to most effectively use it in your own teaching. We think that by sharing your experiences and helping each other solve problems you will be able to make best and easiest use of the materials.

As the community engagement coordinator at SERC, I am here to help make this group thrive by helping out with administration and helping you engage in a productive way. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you see a place where I can help.

To start off, let's get the ball rolling with around-the-table introductions:
1) Give us a quick introduction––what's your background and interest in the topic?
2) How have you used the material from the module? If you haven't used it, can you explain why?
3) What would you like to get out of this group?

You may have noticed that Jill Schneiderman (module author), has just added a discussion thread about Environmental Justice and Freshwater in Flint, Michigan!

Looking forward to seeing your discussions take off––
Alice

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Well I guess I'll start the introductions :) My name is Joshua Villalobos and I'm an associate professor of geology at El Paso Community College in West Texas. I am also one of the authors (and users) of the EJ module. My background is in remote sensing and geophysics but my interests and enjoyment are in engaging non-traditional students in the geosciences. Being at a 2YC (two-year college) my class load is typically 4-5 lec./lab classes per semester which means I get to be challenged with a large percentage of students who are; English Second Language learners, first generational, have physical/ mental disabilities, and second career students who are typically over the age of 35. One of the ways I try to engage my students, as well as try avoid the "talk and Chalk" or "Sage on Stage" method of teaching, is to incorporate these modules into my courses. Using these modules has had a large impact not only with my students understanding of the topics but also in the way I teach my classes. In regards to what I would like to get out of this group, I would like to be able show how these module can not only make your students learn the material more effectively but can also make our job as instructors far more efficient. These modules do require some work to get them implemented, tested, and refined for your classes but once that is done they will be a major component of your course!

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Thanks for getting us started, Joshua!

I've just been informed that the email notification system for this discussion group has just been fixed...If you're receiving this message for the first time, welcome to the InTeGrate Environmental Justice and Freshwater Resources Teaching Interest group! We're kicking off with a first set of introductory prompts to get our group discussion and sharing started (and we've had our first post by module author Joshua Villalobos from El Paso Community College--see above). Join in and tell us about yourself and what you're interested in getting out of this group!

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Thanks for prompting us to introduce ourselves, Alice. So here's from me:

Since 1996, nine years after publication of the foundational document of the movement Toxic Waste and Race authored by NAACP and United Church of Christ and two years after then President Clinton issued an executive order on Environment Justice, I received an NSF grant to develop a course in Earth Science and Environmental Justice.

Since then, awareness of the topic has increased nearly exponentially. Use of Google Ngram viewer using the phrases "environmental justice" and "environmental racism" (see link below) reveals that although the phrase "environmental racism" has reached a plateau, discussion of"environmental justice" has continued to rise.

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=environmental+racism%2C+environ...

Over the last 20 years I have taught my students about the intersections of earth science and environmental justice because I have always believed and continue to believe that earth scientists need to involve themselves in the movement by teaching to students and citizens the basic earth science relevant to environmental justice. Because of this conviction I proposed and led the development of the InTeGrate module, "Freshwater and Environmental Justice". Though there are many arenas in which earth scientists can contribute scientific information to advance social justice throughout the 'Critical Zone', justice in the realm of access to clean drinking water continues to plague regions of discarded populations.

So, my mind turns to the recent disclosure of Pb-contaminated drinking water surreptitiously supplied to the poor in Flint, Michigan. I pose to the group, how can geologists use our knowledge to increase the scientific knowledge about Pb-contaminated drinking water so that understanding of the situation in Flint, empowers concerned citizens to be a positive force for change there? What scientific elements related to Pb contamination could be incorporated into this module?

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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »