Thursday, March 19, 2015

Panel discussion to be held in honor of Environmental Justice Day March 19

HOUGHTON -- A panel discussion will be held in honor of Environmental Justice Day from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, in Ballroom B of the MUB (Memorial Union Building) on the Michigan Tech campus.

The panel speakers will be Wilma Subra, a chemist helping communities find justice in toxic environment; Jessica Koski, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community mining technical  assistant; and Linda Rulison, Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK) president. They will discuss their experiences working with communities facing environmental justice issues and their own motivation for taking action.

Combining technical research and evaluation, Wilma Subra provides technical assistance to citizens concerned with their environment -- both across the United States and some foreign countries. This information is then presented to community members so that strategies may be developed to address their local struggles.

Subra has just completed a seven-year term as Vice-Chair of the Environmental Protection Agency National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT), a five-year term on the National Advisory Committee of the U.S. Representative to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation and a six-year term on the EPA National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) where she served as a member of the Cumulative Risk and Impacts Working Group of the NEJAC Council, and chaired the NEJAC Gulf Coast Hurricanes Work Group.

Jessica Koski is Ojibwe from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. Jessica is an alumna of Michigan Technological University where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences in 2009. After Michigan Tech, Jessica earned a Master's Degree in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. At Yale, Jessica’s focal area was Social Ecology and Environmental Policy, and her research examined indigenous environmental justice issues and activism in the western Great Lakes region.

Koski currently works for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community's Natural Resources Department as mining technical assistant. In this role, she is working to build the capacity of her tribal community to address mining in the Lake Superior basin and Upper Peninsula. From 2011-2014, she also served on the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council’s Indigenous Peoples Working Group. In addition, Koski has been engaged as a community activist on mining issues for about eight years. This work has included organizing regional forums, assisting grassroots efforts, raising concerns at corporate shareholder meetings abroad, and elevating indigenous rights issues to the United Nations.

Linda Rulison, a retired middle/high school teacher of environmental and social studies, is interested in environmental justice on campus and in career paths. She became involved in local environmental issues with a group of citizens in 1989 and formalized the group as a 501(c)3 organization in 1990. She is currently the president of Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK).

This event is supported by the Parents' Fund of the Michigan Tech Fund, Michigan Tech's Students for Environmental Sustainability, the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach and the Michigan Tech Biology Department.

For more information contact Nicolette Slagle at nmslagle@mtu.edu.

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