Guest speaker discusses intersection of issues of social and ecological justice

woman in denim blouse at podium
Dr. Jeanine Canty explained to faculty and staff in attendance the environmental injustices that people of color face and how they are overlooked. Photo credit: Brandon Ilano

Jeanine Canty, a professor at Naropa University in Boulder, Colo., spoke about issues relating race, social justice and environment at the Northridge Center.

Canty is also an editor of “Ecological and Social Healing: Multicultural Women’s Voices,” a book that describes the intersection between climate change and social injustice.

“Oppression of people of color is inseparable from the oppression of the natural world,” Canty said.

She said minorities are more likely to suffer the consequences of environmental injustices because they live in places that don’t pay attention to their environment and have to work more hazardous jobs.

“People of color, indigenous, women, children, poor and working-class people are disproportionally affected by ecological issues because we have less political and economic power to fight them,” Canty said.

She also said consumerism has a negative effect on the western world because it persuades people to buy more stuff they don’t need.

Canty encouraged students to reduce their consumption habits to help the environment and other communities.

One of the keys to healing society, according to Canty, is that people should be able to share their emotions to have meaningful interactions and express solidarity with each other.

Liberal arts major, Gladys Sanchez praised Canty for her ideas on ecological healing and approach to social issues.

“One way for us to move forward to the future is by healing ourselves as a community to heal our illness and cure any kinds of racism, misogyny or ecological injustices we face today,” Sanchez said

Canty also used the opportunity to congratulate students who participated in the “Week of Action” protest to combat Executive Order 1100. She said the students’ actions motivated her to come to CSUN.

Chicano studies major, Javier Gomez, said the event was an opportunity for students to share and be aware of the link between social and environmental justice.

“It’s important to be socially conscious and aware of what’s going in our communities,” Gomez said. “Every person has a story on a connection to environmental justice and social justice.”

Sanchez said she hopes CSUN invites more speakers like Canty.

“She is a very inspirational and enlightening person to have in campus and we need more people like her to talk to our community and our campus about certain issues that are very frustrating to us,” Sanchez said.

The event was organized by Civil Discourse and Social Change, a campus organization that combines education, community involvement and sustained activism on issues around social justice and social change.