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Environmental Justice

The benefits of incorporating environmental justice issues into the College's educational programs are three-fold:

  • Education efforts will likely inspire Pomona students to become involved in local environmental justice efforts while at Pomona
  • Education efforts have a long-term benefit in inspiring students to think about environmental justice issues when they leave Pomona
  • Awareness of environmental justice issues is integral to career tracks in environmental fields

Efforts to increase coverage of environmental justice issues in educational programs can take place in the following ways:

  • Increased incorporation into courses
  • Increased focus on environmental justice in co-curricular programming

It is important that the campus community be involved in environmental justice efforts not only in the classroom and in campus activities, but also in engaging and partnering with the surrounding communities of the Los Angeles Basin. Such outreach can be conducted through channels including volunteer efforts, internships, Orientation Adventure, and academic research and projects.  In engaging in this outreach, it is important for the College to develop long-term connections with community organizations and specific communities. Extended engagement is far more likely to lead to community empowerment; nothing substantial in the way of real change or real relationships can be accomplished in a short period of involvement.

Direct Impacts
It is important to note that the College's environmental impacts - resource use, pollution, and disposal methods, among others - inherently connect the institution with environmental justice impacts. Connections between the College's actions and environmental justice issues can be made on various levels, from the very local (the use of toxic materials on campus and who must be exposed) to the regional (the communities living in proximity to the plants that supply our power) to the global (the extent to which campus activities contribute to climate change and other emissions).   Almost every strategy suggested in this document can in some way be linked to the improvement of quality of life and environmental quality for some community in the world.

It is impossible to quantify or qualify all of the College's environmental justice impacts, but it is important to note that the following general strategies will provide relevant benefits:

  • Reduction in energy use
  • Reduction in use of toxic chemicals and materials
  • Reduction in refrigerant use
  • Use of "green" cleaning chemicals
  • Reduction of chemical fertilizers
  • Reduction in landfill waste disposal
  • Reduced transportation miles
  • Purchasing locally-grown and -produced items, including food
  • Incorporation of fair trade certified items into Dining and other campus operations

Implementation/Moving Forward
To further these efforts, PACS and the Sustainability Integration Office have begun discussions with members of the President's Advisory Committee on Diversity and the Draper Center for Community Partnerships to hold a series of community meetings/summits, inviting representatives from student groups involved in social justice and environmental activism. These events would include discussions of environmental justice on campus and how to further all of the efforts discussed above and how to integrate a diverse section of the student body and campus community in sustainability efforts.