Category Archives: events

2019 NYC Climate Strike Actions

Pratt Climate Strike Poster - 1

Information in this post came from a September 13 session in Main Building.

The Global Climate Strike organized by young people all around the world begins with mass protests on September 20. As an educator discussion global sustainability issues with young people at Pratt, I am compelled to share information about what my students and their peers are doing to address the environmental and social problems the planet faces.

A group of Pratt students will join Friday’s New York City protest (September 20). A contingent is leaving Pratt’s Brooklyn campus from the Chapel in East Building shortly before noon and joining others in Manhattan’s Foley Square before the 2:30pm march in Battery Park. For more information on the larger event, see the Facebook page.

On Monday, September 23 at 5:30pm, people will gather ahead of the Climate Strike with Greta Thunberg. For more information on this event, see its Facebook page.

On Friday, September 27 at 2:30pm, the Communities Strike for Climate over Colonialism takes place in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood. For more information on this event, see its Facebook page.

On Sunday, September 29, the SOS Amazon festival takes place in Tompkins Square Park. “Celebrating Preservation of Amazonian Ecosystem and all Ecosystems, indigenous culture, human rights  with DJs, Live music, dance, art, speakers, drummers and ceremonies. THIS IS A FREE PARTY!” For more information on this event, see its Facebook page.

Related, Leonel Ponce, who coordinates Pratt’s Sustainable Environmental Systems MA program has helped draft an open letter from the academic community demanding United Nations action in support of the Amazon and its peoples. You may read and sign the letter at this link. Related to this letter is the petition to call on the United Nations to #CancelBolsonaro at the UN General Assembly.

 

 

 

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Megacities and Water Panel at 3rd World Congress of Environmental History, Florianópolis

FlorianapolisThe 3rd World Congress of Environmental History begins in Florianópolis, Brazil this week, organizing around the theme “Convergences: The Global South and the Global North in the Era of Great Acceleration.” For more information on the venue, keynote speakers, program and schedule of sessions, please click the links on the conference website.

As part of the conference, I will participate in a panel on Water and Megacities in the 20th Century on Thursday afternoon, with participants presenting cases from the Americas. I will discuss Newtown Creek as New York City’s aquatic discardscape, a site with several narratives of waste informing both its history and its future as a site for sustainable (or unsustainable) urban development. How do we think about waste? How do the answers to that question inform the ways discarded materials have shaped the land, water, and economic processes that interact at Newtown Creek? Join me for consideration of those questions and how they relate to water issues in the world’s megacities.

Celebrate the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator June 3

BF+DA_entrance

Celebrate the BF+DA June 3.

“Make the Future Here.”

That’s the slogan of the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator. In the five years since Debera Johnson and her team made the BF+DA a reality, that is exactly what the venture fellows and research fellows working in the Pfizer Building have done. Pratt is an amazing place to practice sustainability education because our colleagues and students are so creative. That creativity shaped BF+DA’s work, and will no doubt continue to shape the community’s work after the BF+DA shuts its doors on June 30.

Before that happens, however, the space will host one more event: “Mainstreaming Sustainability: A Conversation with Changemakers at a Time of Change, June 3 at 6pm.

The BF+DA is bringing together our community to celebrate on June 3rd. Come toast the BF+DA team and share one last evening with amazing people.

Lewis Perkins, President, Apparel Impact Institute
Deb Johnson, Executive Director, BF+DA
More panelists to be announced

As we approach 2020, the benchmark year for achieving sustainability targets for many companies and institutions, it’s time to assess our success. How are we faring, what gains have been made, what do we need to accomplish by 2030? From supply chains to policy change, investment to education, labor justice to bio-generated materials, sustainable solutions are gaining traction globally. Leveraging this traction and scaling change is key. Maintaining our passion amidst the complex set of interrelated levers that drive change is critical, especially when the goal requires a massive change to how we think and act.

Join us for an inspiring conversation to examine the future and current state of sustainability with leaders who are implementing real-world solutions from the perspectives of circularity, policy, business and education.

This will be our farewell event at our old home and the inauguration of a new series in thought-leadership events to come.

There is limited seating so please RSVP (see the registration details at the bottom of this page).

One of the highlights of teaching Pratt’s Sustainable Core course has been bringing undergraduates to the BF+DA to introduce them to the amazing work done there. Whether BF+DA Executive Director Debera Johnson or Center for Sustainable Design Strategies Director Carolyn Shafer showed the students the production facilities, venture fellows’ workspaces, s.Lab, and meeting places, the students were thrilled to see BF+DA’s approach to creative business practices. Visiting from semester to semester and year to year, I got to see businesses like Kirrin Finch and Make It Black grow and thrive. As an author, I was fortunate to participate in the BF+DA’s book fair and discuss sustainability with likeminded scholars and writers. At the end of every year, the Positive Impact Awards ceremony was a great way to toast the work of the year (and buy holiday gifts from the various venture fellows).

The mission of Pratt Institute is “to educate artists and creative professionals to be responsible contributors to society. Pratt seeks to instill in all graduates aesthetic judgment, professional knowledge, collaborative skills, and technical expertise.” The BF+DA has been an inspiring force advancing that mission.

“Make the Future Here.” Even after June passes, I expect the lessons the BF+DA gave the venture fellows, Pratt’s students, and the world will continue to inspire people to make a more sustainable future.

RSVP to “Mainstreaming Sustainability.”

Join Pratt’s 9th Annual Sustainability Crash Course Saturday March 23, 2019

crashcourse-470x260On Saturday, March 23, Pratt’s Brooklyn campus (200 Willoughby Avenue) will host the ninth annual Sustainability Crash Course. The Crash Course runs from 9am to 5pm with talks, workshops and a keynote discussion. Whether you are interested in policy, activism, art, history, or design, the Crash Course will have events of interest.

On Saturday, March 23, 2019, Pratt’s CSDS will host the 9th annual Sustainability Crash Course, a day-long series of presentations, panel discussions and workshops with a host of experts from Pratt’s faculty and elsewhere.  In years past we have had over 20 different speakers present topics including Ecology, Biomimicry, Packaging Design, Life-Cycle Assessment, Fashion, Architecture, Policy and Environmental Activism. This year we have an entirely new line up of exciting and inspiring presenters. As in the past, the event is free and open to the Pratt Community as well as the general public, but registration is requiredView the eventbrite page.

The Crash Course is a production of the Center for Sustainable Design Strategies, and this year will feature speakers from the Pratt community, New York City, upstate New York, and around the world. It begins Pratt’s annual Green Week activities, a detailed list of which are available from the Pratt Sustainability Coalition. For free registration and more information, please visit the Eventbrite page.

Ashley Dawson “Energy Democracy and the Green New Deal” at Pratt, noon, March 21

 

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Ashley Dawson is an author, activist and professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center, and at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York.

I will have more to say about Pratt’s Green Week (scheduled to begin March 23 on the Brooklyn campus) in this space shortly. I want to first mention an event that serves as a preview of Green Week. We are proud to present CUNY Professor Ashley Dawson speaking on “Energy Democracy and the Green New Deal” on Thursday March 21 from noon to 1:30pm in ARC E-02 (200 Willoughby Avenue).

The future is electric. At least, it had better be if we are to survive as a species. We know that we must decarbonize societies the world over with all due haste in order to avoid climate catastrophe. The scale of this task is mammoth: contemporary energy systems must be switched to 100 percent renewable energy within the next decade or so. In addition, other key infrastructures such as transportation and the heating and cooling of buildings must be converted to running on electricity derived from renewable power. This means that we have to triple the current amount of energy being generated while also ditching fossil fuels. Although renewable power has experienced remarkable growth in recent years, this expansion has taken place in tandem with a massive expansion of fossil fuels. We are not, in other words, experiencing a transition of the scale and scope necessary to avert planetary ecocide. Feel-good bromides about a market-led transition to a green capitalist future will no longer do. We need an emergency plan for a rapid and massive transition, one grounded in ambitious ideas about how to heal the deep economic and social wounds inflicted by decades of neoliberal governance. This presentation will define energy democracy, explore the models for Green New Deal and just transition being advanced by the contemporary climate justice movement, and examine historical precedents for a democratic and equitable transformation of the energy system.

Professor Dawson currently works in the fields of environmental humanities and postcolonial ecocriticism. He is the author of two recent books relating to these fields: Extreme Cities (Verso, 2017) and Extinction (O/R, 2016). Extreme Cities argues that cities are ground zero for climate change, contributing the lion’s share of carbon to the atmosphere, while also lying on the frontlines of rising sea levels. Today, the majority of the world’s megacities are located in coastal zones, yet few of them are adequately prepared for the floods that will increasingly menace their shores. Instead, most continue to develop luxury waterfront condos for the elite and industrial facilities for corporations. These not only intensify carbon emissions, but also place coastal residents at greater risk when water levels rise. Extreme Cities offers an alarming portrait of the future of our cities, describing the efforts of Staten Island, New York, and Shishmareff, Alaska residents to relocate; Holland’s models for defending against the seas; and the development of New York City before and after Hurricane Sandy. Our best hope lies not with fortified sea walls, the book argues, but rather with urban movements already fighting to remake our cities in a more just and equitable way.

Extinction: A Radical History argues that the current devastation of the natural world, which affects not just large rhinos and pandas but humbler realms of creatures including beetles, bats and butterflies, is the product of a global attack on the commons, the great trove of air, water, plants and creatures, as well as collectively created cultural forms such as language, that have been regarded traditionally as the inheritance of humanity as a whole. This attack has its genesis in the need for capital to expand relentlessly into all spheres of life. Extinction, the book argues, cannot be understood in isolation from a critique of our economic system. To achieve this we need to transgress the boundaries between science, environmentalism and radical politics.

This event is free and open to the public.

Night One

Pittsburgh_strongAs Hanukkah begins, thoughts turn to our friends in Pittsburgh assaulted by a white supremacist in October. Jake Leger suggested the following places to donate, and I cannot think of a better way to commemorate this festival of resilience.

“I’ve been asked about donation sites, and upon family request I would like anyone interested to donate to https://www.jfcspgh.org/. There is also a large gofundme for Tree of Life as well that’s at the top of their page. Thank you so much to the outpouring of messages and I apologize if I can’t respond.
Love, Jake”

GoFundMe Link: https://www.gofundme.com/tree-of-life-synagogue-shooting

Jewish Family and Community Services Pittsburgh donation page link: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/jfcspgh/mobile

ברוך אתה ה’ א‑לוהינו, מלך העולם, שהחינו וקימנו והגענו לזמן הזה

The Art of Sustainability Symposium in Philadelphia October 6

MuralArtsImageThe Mural Arts Institute and the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University are hosting an Oct. 6 symposium on public art and sustainability featuring artists, architects, and me. Details, including tickets here:

Our speakers bring a variety of perspectives and experiences to the intersection of artistic practice and the environment. The line-up includes artist Stacy Levy, curator & scholar Patti Phillips; architect Mateo Fernández; Mural Arts Restored Spaces initiative founder Shari Hersh; the collective Basurama; community organizer Sulay Sosa; Wholistic.art; writer & scholar Carl Zimring; Bartram’s Garden Executive Director Maitreyi Roy; The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education Executive Director Mike Weilbacher; and policy expert Stephanie Gidigbi. Sessions will range from conversation to lecture format to interactive engagement and will cover a wide range of topics.

My contribution will be a lecture about the visual culture of environmental racism. I am looking forward to the entire program.