In early February, nearly 200 DEEP Collaborative members from the Triangle met to interrogate the concept of critical conversations during an interview of Dr. Nicki Cagle, led by Paul James, of Lighthouse Consulting. The interview emphasized personal histories, especially around race and environment, and it also explored the concept of Environmental Justice, particularly as it applies to the case of redlining and correlated tree plantings (AKA tree racism) in the Durham community.
For more information on this topic, check out Replanting Durham’s Urban Forest and Planning a Sustainable Tree Canopy for Durham – both resources address issues of racial equity, the ecosystem services provided by trees, and a solutions-based approach to addressing environmental injustice around this issue.
In this session, some component of environmental justice were highlighted, including its focus on (1) the fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens, (2) the ability to participate in environmental decision making that affects you, and (3) freedom from environmental degradation. This was also characterized as freedom from unfair environmental burdens, and perhaps all forms of environmental degradation, and freedom to participate in environmental decision making
Later in the month, DEEP Collaborative members met to debrief from our previous session addressing critical conversations, and then practiced the skills modeled in that session as they explored a case study of address “Race, Community, and Privilege” in small groups.
In the words of Paul James, the case study was designed “[t]o enhance skills related to critical thinking, reflection, and privilege system interrogation”.
This week, over 10 community organizations began to schedule times to meet in small, peer groups with Paul James and Nicki Cagle to discuss their questions and future directions around creating more inclusive spaces in the workplace and community as we address local environmental issues.