The Quest for Environmental and Climate Justice

Part of the Edwin Way Teale Lecture Series

Lecture Series on Nature and the Environment

This event was originally scheduled for March 11. JOIN US NOW ON 8th.

Public Event Online – Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 4:30 pm EST

Presented by Robert Bullard, Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy, Texas Southern University

Please join us for the next virtual Teale lecture to be streamed live on Thursday, April 8 at 4:30pm EST.

Dr. Robert Bullard has often been described as the father of environmental justice. A Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning Environmental Policy, and former Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University, he is also an award-winning author of eighteen books that address sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, disasters, emergency response, and community resilience, smart growth, and regional equity.

Climate change is the defining environmental justice, human rights, and public health issue of the twenty-first century. The most vulnerable populations around the world will suffer the earliest and most damaging setbacks because of where they live, their limited income and economic means, and their lack of access to health care. Climate-sensitive hazards are expected to increase in the coming years, but the populations most directly impacted in hazard zones have widely differing capacities to prepare, respond, cope, and rebound from disaster events.

Dr. Bullard will examine the intersection of environmental action (or inaction) and racial disparities. The presentation will focus primarily on the United States and the need for empowering vulnerable populations, identifying environmental justice and climate change “hot-spot” zones. Bullard will discuss designing fair, just and effective adaptation, mitigation, emergency management and community resilience and disaster recovery strategies, and offer strategies to dismantle institutional policies and practices that create, exacerbate, and perpetuate inequality and vulnerability before and after disasters strike.

Bullard’s most recent books include Race, Place and Environmental Justice After Hurricane Katrina (2009), Environmental Health and Racial Equity in the United States (2011), and The Wrong Completion for Protection (2012). Before coming to Texas Southern University in 2016, he was the Ware Distinguished Professor of Sociology and founding Director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University.

In 2013, Robert Bullard was honored with the Sierra Club John Muir Award, the first African American to win the award, and in 2014, the Sierra Club named its new Environmental Justice Award after Dr. Bullard. Bullard completed his PhD at Iowa State University, and the Iowa State University Alumni Association named him its Alumni Merit Award recipient in 2015—an award also given to alumnus George Washington Carver in 1937.

In 2020, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) honored Bullard with its Champions of the Earth Lifetime Achievement Award, the UN’s highest environmental honor, recognizing outstanding leaders from government, civil society and the private sector whose actions have a transformative impact on the environment.

Introducing and moderating the program discussion online will be University of Connecticut hosts Carol Atkinson-Palombo and Michael Willig. Carol Atkinson-Palombo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, Director of the Environmental Studies Program at UConn, and Chair of the University Senate. Distinguished Professor Michael Willig is the Executive Director of the Institute of the Environment and Director of the Center for Environmental Science and Engineering at UConn.

This WebEx event is open to the public and viewers may submit question via chat during the live program.

For a link to the live program on April 8th, please visit the Teale Series web page:

A recording of the lecture will also be posted on this page for viewing after the talk.

If you are an individual needing an accommodation to access or participate, please contact

Sponsored by the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Office of the Vice President for Research, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School of Business, Graduate School, College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, School of Engineering, School of Fine Arts, School of Law, Institute of the Environment, Atmospheric Sciences Group, Center for Environmental Sciences & Engineering, CLAS Shared Services, Center of Biological Risk, Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation, Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, Connecticut Sea Grant Program, Environmental Sciences Program, Environmental Studies Program, Human Rights Institute, Humanities Institute, Office of Environmental Policy, Honors Program, Connecticut Institute for Resilience & Climate Adaptation and UConn Library, as well as the Departments of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Economics, English, Geography, Geosciences, History, Natural Resources & the Environment, Political Science, and Physics.