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Environmental Justice Will Be Focus of Weekend Symposium at Carnegie Mellon


Carnegie Mellon University will offer a weekend symposium, Friday, March 30, through Sunday, April 1, titled “The Problem of Environmental Justice,” which will explore how corporate and governmental environmental policies disproportionately impact minority and disadvantaged communities. The symposium is available for course credit to Carnegie Mellon students, and members of the public may attend the events scheduled for March 30–31.

The symposium will feature speakers from government, academia and the nonprofit community who will address topics including global warming, brownfield redevelopment and emerging technologies — subjects all tied to the theme of environmental justice. In 1994, President Clinton signed an executive order that required federal policy to address environmental justice in minority and low-income populations, and mandated that federal policies and programs could not disproportionately harm those communities.

“Do companies, governments and other organizations make decisions that regularly affect minority populations and burden them more?” asked symposium leader Peter Madsen, Distinguished Service Professor of Ethics and Social Responsibility at Carnegie Mellon. “Is it the case that one component of our society is being harmed from environmental decisions while the rest of us benefit?”

The event is sponsored by the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research at Carnegie Mellon. Speakers will include:

Edwardo L. Rhodes, professor of public and environmental affairs at Indiana University;
Kent Benjamin, partnership team leader for Innovation, Partnerships and Communication with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency;
Ronald Sandler, assistant professor of philosophy and senior researcher in the Nanotechnology and Society Research Group at Northeastern University;
Deeohn Ferris, president of the Sustainable Community Development Group Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit.

Carnegie Mellon students who attend the symposium and complete its required readings can receive three course units. Students at other Pittsburgh-area colleges may also be able to register for course credit through the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education. For more information about the event, go to


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