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"Environmental Justice: Unifying Research and Activism" is the focus of this year's J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium

"Environmental Justice: Unifying Research and Activism" is the focus of this year's J. Paul Taylor Social Justice Symposium at New Mexico State University March 29 through 31.

The symposium includes several guest speakers and panel discussions, a tree planting ceremony, and a visit to Sunland Park to discuss a landfill and other environmental justice issues.

"Environmental justice is about uniting our thoughts and actions to create more equitable and healthier communities," said Neil Harvey, one of the symposium organizers, director of the NMSU Center for Latin American and Border Studies and an associate professor of government. "We hope the symposium will stimulate debate about the kind of future we want for our region and our world, and are looking forward to a lively and productive exchange of ideas and experiences from activists and researchers."

The schedule is as follows:
Thursday, March 29:

2 p.m., Center for Latin American and Border Studies (Nason House). News conference to discuss landfills and their effects on people's lives.
3-5 p.m., Kent Hall Museum Courtyard. Opening reception, by invitation only. Remarks by former New Mexico State Rep. J. Paul Taylor, NMSU President Michael Martin, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Waded Cruzado-Salas and others. Also, the Department of Government will present its annual Social Justice Award. This year's recipient is Kelly Siebe.
6-8 p.m., Science Hall, Room 102. "How to link scholarship and activism in environmental justice." Angus Wright, professor emeritus of environmental studies from California State University, Sacramento. Wright has written "The Death of Ramon Gonzalez: A Modern Agricultural Dilemma" and coauthored "To Inherit the Earth: The Landless Movement and the Struggle for a New Brazil." He has conducted research in Mexico and Brazil, served as president and board member of the Pesticide Action Network North America and the Institute for Food and Development Policy, and is a board member of The Land Institute.
Friday, March 30 (all events from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Music Center Recital Hall):
8 to 8:30 a.m. Registration, welcoming comments and overview of panel presentations.
8:45 to 9:45 a.m. "Biodiversity, Peoples and Oil." Stuart Pimm, professor of conservation ecology at Duke University and outstanding alumnus from the NMSU College of Arts and Sciences.
10 to 11:30 a.m. Education and Research for Environmental Justice
a. "Equipping Families on the U.S.-Mexico Border Region to Improve Their Built Environment." Sue Forster-Cox (NMSU's Department of Health Science) and Benjamin Jacquez and Thenral Mangadu (both from NMSU's Southern Area Health Education Center).
b. "Renewable Energy for Rural Development." Robert Foster and Luis Estrada (NMSU College of Engineering's Institute for Energy and the Environment).
c. "What Can We Do When the Sky is Falling? Being There - Stories from Environmental Efforts at the Border." Antonio Lara (NMSU chemistry professor) and Patti Wojahn (NMSU English professor).
1:15 to 2:30 p.m. "Building Change in New Mexico: Environmental Justice from People of Color and Grassroots Perspective." Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice. Discussant: Derrick Jensen, a noted author and environmental activist who has authored several books on environmental justice, including "Strangely Like War: The Global Assault on Forests," "Listening to the Land," and two volumes of "Endgame."
2:30 to 3:45 p.m. Southern New Mexico communities' campaigns to protect environmental health. Ray Aldaz and Cruz Febres of Vecinos Unidos in Chaparral, Marta González and Isabel Santos of Vecinos en Acción in Sunland Park, and Arturo Uribe of Mesquite. Discussant: Carolyn Raffensperger, environmental lawyer and founding director of the Science and Environmental Health Network. Raffensperger and Nancy Myers coauthored "Precautionary Tools for Reshaping Environmental Policy" and "Protecting Public Health and the Environment: Implementing the Precautionary Principle."
4 to 5 p.m. "Cockroaches, Housing and Race: A History of Asthma and the Environment." Gregg Mitman, professor of medical history and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
5:15 to 6:15 p.m., Conroy Honors Center. Reception honoring Steve Fitch and his photographic artistry.
7:30 to 9 p.m., Rio Grande Theater on the Las Cruces Downtown Mall. "A Dialogue on Environmental Justice." Derrick Jensen and Carolyn Raffensperger will participate. A book signing is included.
Saturday, March 31 (Morning events to be held in Educational Services Center, Regents Room):

8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Presentations.
a. "Anthrax, Insects, and Mutant Smallpox: New Fears for Our Bodies, Politics, and Environments in the Age of Bioterrorism." Melanie Armstrong, University of New Mexico's Department of American Studies.
b. "A New Nuclearism in New Mexico." Jennifer Richter, UNM's Department of American Studies.
c. "Tools for Environmental Justice: The EPA, Freedom of Information and Scientific Research." Daniel Smith, NMSU special collections librarian and assistant professor.
d. "Environmental Justice in an Age of Empire: Lessons from Southern Mexico and Central America." Neil Harvey.
10:45 to 11:30 a.m. Roundtable discussion. Moderated by Angus Wright, this will be a time for all symposium participants to reflect on the lessons learned and to discuss the next steps for unifying research and activism in pursuing environmental justice.
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tree-planting ceremony. After lunch, trees will be planted on the International Mall from the Pan American Center to the Educational Services Center.
1:30 to 5 p.m. Visit to Sunland Park. The landfill and other environmental justice issues will be discussed with Sunland Park residents. Press conference tentatively scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
6 p.m. Return to NMSU.
7-9 p.m., event at Newman Center, 2615 S. Solano. "What will it take for us to survive?" Talk by Derrick Jensen at 7:30 p.m. In addition to Jensen's speech, the evening will include refreshments and Mexican folk music performed by Veronica Carmona and Cruz Hernandez. Tickets are $12.00 at the door with all proceeds going directly to the Colonias Development Council. For more information, call Diana Bustamante or Sheila Black at the Colonias Development Council (CDC) at 505-647-2744.
Spanish/English translation will be available throughout the symposium. Books by the guest speakers also will be available. Registration is free and open to the public. You can register for the symposium at www.nmsu.edu/jpts or on the first day of the symposium at the NMSU Music Center.