We stand in solidarity with those combating racial violence and intersecting forms of oppression, and we are committed to working toward justice for all Black people. The violent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Monika Diamond, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others by police officers and White vigilantes are reprehensible. They form part of the long history of racial violence against Blacks, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in the United States.
We recognize that the pandemic of racism extends beyond individual acts of violence to permeate all aspects of society. Black Americans are incarcerated at a rate five times greater than Whites.1 Furthermore, due to intertwining sociopolitical, economic, and environmental factors, Black Americans account for a disproportionate number of deaths during the current COVID-19 pandemic.2 We also acknowledge that BIPOC communities are the most vulnerable to climate change and environmental racism.3 These examples are only a few of the innumerable ways racism is manifest in the United States. Racist ideologies have always been embedded in the laws and norms of this country and underpin current inequities and structural violence.
As faculty and students at the University of Georgia, we further acknowledge that generations of enslaved persons built and maintained the University of Georgia through their labor. We decry the University's failure to recognize these individuals and its historic disrespect for their burial grounds on campus. Descendants of these enslaved individuals continue to form an integral part of the Athens community. Yet racialized economic inequality, racial violence, and other oppressive structures continue to be detrimental to the wellbeing of Black people in Athens. We support Athens community leaders in their petitions to the University to further recognize and redress its legacy of slavery.
The unjust social and material realities of our local communities and nation can be transformed through concerted, intentional efforts. We support those protesting against anti-Black violence, police brutality, and all forms of systemic oppression. We recognize our role in perpetuating injustices, including through our implicit biases. To contribute to efforts to dismantle White supremacy, racism, and colonialism, we commit to:
We recognize that this list is limited, and we will continue to expand our commitments to justice and equity.
Members of the Human and Environmental Change Lab
Cydney K. Seigerman
Shelly A. Biesel
John Ryan McGreevy
Bruno G. Ubiali
Donald R. Nelson
*The first bullet point commitment in this statement was edited on June 12, 2020 to better communicate our support for the entire Athens community working toward justice and against police violence.
1 Sabol, W. J.; Johnson, T. L.; and Caccavale, A. (2019). Trends in Correctional Control by Race and Sex. Washington, D.C.: Council on Criminal Justice. [Accessed 8 June 2020] https://cdn.ymaws.com/counciloncj.org
2 The COVID Tracking Project (2020). The COVID Racial Data Tracker. [Accessed 8 June 2020]. https://covidtracking.com/race.
3 Switzer, D., and Teodoro, M. P. (2017). The Color of Drinking Water: Class, Race, Ethnicity, and Safe Drinking Water Act Compliance. Journal - AWWA, 109(9), 40-45.
3 Bravo, M. A., Anthopolos, R., Bell, M. L., & Miranda, M. L. (2016). Racial isolation and exposure to airborne particulate matter and ozone in understudied US populations: Environmental justice applications of downscaled numerical model output. Environment International, 92-93, 247-255.
Don Nelson and UGA collaborators Brian Bledsoe and Marshall Shepherd have a new publication that underscores the importance of scientific humility in addressing hydroclimatic challenges in the 21st C. The article highlights three areas that need to be simultaneously addressed to reduce risk and promote equitable and sustainable risk management: Humans as a part of nature; Engineering with a dynamic nature; and, Acknowledging complexity.
Nelson, D.R., Bledsoe, B., and M Shepherd. 2020. From hubris to humility: Transcending original sin in managing hydroclimate risk management. Anthropocene. doi.org/10.1016/j.ancene.2020.100239.
Lab member John Ryan McGreevy and colleague Kevin Colburn (American Whitewater) recently completed a report that analyzes congestion and interaction between different types of visitors along the Upper Chattooga River Wild and Scenic River Corridor. McGreevy presented preliminary findings at UGA’s Integrative Conservation Conference in February. The authors have since submitted the completed report to members of the USDA Forest Service and advocacy groups for different visitor types. This report adds to a decades-long discussion on how to manage the Chattooga River in ways that protect the natural environment and maintain wilderness experience for visitors. Novel insights from McGreevy and Colburn’s analysis of six years of data on river use, river flow, and rainfall will hopefully contribute to adaptive management and inform future policy formation.
Read the full report here.
Shelly's insightful piece on the ways that rural populations in Kentucky and Northeast Brazil are challenging marginalization and discrimination is now available to read in Anthropology News.
Don and John McGreevy were co-authors on a recent publication in Environmental Research Letters - "Advancing the integration of ecosystem services and livelihood adaptation"
The paper evaluates limitations of mainstream conceptualizations of ecosystem service flows, and discusses methodological tools and emerging research from multiple disciplines that can help overcome those limitations. We present a research framework that integrates ecosystem service analysis with principles from Sustainable Livelihood Analysis and the rapidly emerging field of adaptation studies in social-ecological systems. Coupling these complementary approaches can give more holistic and realistic understandings of ecosystem service flows and who benefits from them.
King, E. G., D. R. Nelson, and J. R. McGreevy. 2019. Advancing the integration of ecosystem services and livelihood adaptation. Environmental Research Letters 14:124057.
Open Access: https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab5519
Shelly will be headed to Pernambuco, Brazil to conduct her dissertation research "Reassessing Biofuel Development through Gendered Eco-Social Experiences". She will be interning with the Instituto Brasileiro de Desenvolvimento e Sustentabilidade (IABS) and working with Prof. Christine Rufino Dabat at the Federal University of Pernambuco.
ICON and Anthropology PhD student Emily Horton selected as finalist for the 2020 Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, sponsored by the National Sea Grant College Program. Building upon her marine conservation and fisheries research in Brazil, Emily will be placed with a federal agency in Washington D.C. for one year to gain experience with domestic marine policy processes.
Read full Georgia Sea Grant press release here:
Learn more about the Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship:
Celebrated French philosopher Bruno Latour travels with Duke University Critical Zone scientist Dan Richter to the John C. Calhoun Critical Zone Observatory in rural South Carolina to observe how deep soil erosion gives a more nuanced view of the Anthropocene.
With cameo appearances from HECLab members!
In June, Jon Hallemeier went to Spokane, WA for initial training as a Conservation Connect Fellow with the National Forest Foundation. In this year-long fellowship, Jon will receive training in facilitation and other skills, engage with academics and professionals working in environmental conflict and collaboration, and help support forest collaboratives working through difficult social and ecological issues.
Jon Hallemeier ventured to Oshkosh, WI for the International Symposium on Society and Resource Management. The symposium brings together people from academics and practice working with the complex social issues involved with natural resource management. The theme of the conference was "Sustainability and the Land Ethic in the Anthropocene: A Thinking Community Explores Critical Issues in Leopold's Backyard." Jon presented research on novel ways to understand the outcomes of collaboration through narratives and networks.
Learn about what we have been up to.