All Environmental Justice Events

This panel brought together frontline communities, including Indigenous elders from the Pacific Northwest and environmental justice advocates from rural Appalachia and the Gulf South. Drawing on intergenerational knowledge and the lived experience of struggle, speakers shined a spotlight on the costs, public health impacts, and environmental damage caused by extractive and fossil fuel-based energy initiatives. They also addressed the power of people around the world to come together around truly clean energy solutions — solutions that contribute to the regeneration of the air, land, and water, and to the flourishing of communities that have been sacrifice zones for decades and longer.

Moderator * Beka Economopoulos, The Natural History Museum, Pacific Northwest


* Rueben George, Sacred Trust Initiative, Tsleil-Waututh Nation

* Yvette Arellano, Fenceline Watch, Texas/Gulf Coast

* Germaine Patterson, Women for a Healthy Environment, Pittsburgh/Mon Valley, PA

* Heaven Sensky, Center for Coalfield Justice, Washington County, PA

* Gillian Graber, Protect PT, Westmoreland/Allegheny County, PA

Roundtable co-organized by @BreatheProject and @The Natural History Museum at @Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens Pittsburgh, PA Thursday, September 22, 2022

“In the city, we accept that my backyard is a refinery, and that’s normal. But it’s not normal. That’s the land hurting. And we’re hurting because the land is hurting. The land shouldn’t be hurting. The air shouldn’t be hurting you.”

This video interview was recorded during the first Alliance of Earth, Sky and Water Protectors Summit at the Lummi Nation Stommish Grounds, May 27-29, 2022.

Jan Victor Andasan is a community organizer with East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice. Jan was born in the Philippines until they emigrated in 1997 to Long Beach, California. They lived there for about five years where they attended Daniel Webster Elementary. They moved to Carson in the South Bay area where they got involved with student organizing against the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. They went to the University of California where they got a Bachelor in Arts in Asian American Studies with a concentration in Pilipin@ Studies. During their tenure at UCLA, they were involved with organizing students of color, LGBTQ issues, and various issues affecting underrepresented communities. They worked on the affordability, accessibility, and quality of higher education. Jan has a passion for addressing social justice issues.

In July 2021, the House of Tears Carvers of the Lummi Nation transported a 25-foot totem pole from Washington State to Washington DC, stopping at sacred and historic places under threat from dams, climate change, and resource extraction. As the pole traveled, it drew lines of connection — honoring, uniting and empowering communities working to protect sacred places. It carried the spirit of the lands it visited and the power and prayers of communities along the way — ultimately delivering these prayers, power and demands to the Biden-Harris Administration and Congress in Washington DC, and culminating in an exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

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This video profiles the activist science of the Watershed Institute, produced in the context of the 2018 exhibition Kwel’ Hoy: Many Struggles, One Front.

Developed by The Natural History Museum with the House of Tears Carvers of the Lummi Nation, Ramapough Lenape Nation, Watershed Institute, Princeton Environmental Institute and Center for the Humanities at CUNY Graduate Center, the exhibition connected the Watershed Institute’s efforts to protect the local watershed from the proposed PennEast Pipeline to the nearby Ramapough Lenape Nation’s struggle to stop the Pilgrim Pipeline, and the Lummi’s struggles to protect the waters of the Pacific Northwest from oil tankers and pipelines.

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For more than a decade, the House of Tears Carvers and members of the Lummi Nation have traveled across North America with totem poles to raise awareness about threats to the environment and public health. As the poles travel, they draw a line between dispersed but connected concerns, and help to build an unprecedented alliance of tribal and non-tribal communities as they stand together to advocate for a sustainable relationship between humanity and the natural world.

Kwel Hoy’: We Draw the Line was a cross-country tour, traveling museum exhibition, and series of public programs uplifting Indigenous leadership in struggles to protect water, land, and our collective future. With this journey, the totem pole entered a museum for the first time. Charged with the stories of resilience they have picked up on their journey across the country, the pole connected the museum—and the museum public—to the living universe in which they are enmeshed.

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