K’JIPUKTUK/HALIFAX – What would a different conversation about the relationship among race, place, space, and the environment in Indigenous and African Nova Scotian communities look like?
How can we best acknowledge the links between environmental racism, climate change, climate justice, a justice-based transition to a fossil-free economy, community-based aspects of renewable energy, energy policy, the built environment, urban planning, planning policies, gentrification, and justice? What are the possible public health advocacy responses to existing or proposed industrial projects and other place-based concerns in Indigenous and African Nova Scotian communities?
On Thursday, October 26, 2017 and Friday, October 27, 2017, Dr. Ingrid Waldron (Associate Professor, Faculty of Health, Dalhousie University), the Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities & Community Health Project (ENRICH) and Dalhousie’s Healthy Populations Institute (HPI) will host Over the Line: A Conversation About Race, Place & The Environment. This free two-part public and academic symposium, which will be hosted by Charla Williams, will bring together American, Nova Scotian, and Canadian experts to engage in a solution-based, cross-cultural conversation about the relationship between race, place, space, and the environment in Indigenous and Black communities.
Dr. Waldron has been researching the socio-economic, political, and health effects of the relationship between race, place, and the environment in African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaq communities over the last several years, focusing specifically on gentrification in Halifax’s North End and environmental racism in rural Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian communities. In her forthcoming book There’s Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous & Black Communities, she notes that “it is important to shed light on the ways in which industry owners carve out spatialities of profit that ultimately lead to possession, dispossession, and displacement”. For example, she observes that the expropriation of Indigenous lands, the formation of neighbourhoods that are segregated by income and race, so-called “neighbourhood revitalization” projects that gentrify low-income racialized areas, and the disproportionate location of polluting industries and other environmentally dangerous projects in Indigenous and Black communities worldwide illustrate the extent to which “race is central to the constitution of space, and to the ways in which discourses about immorality, deviance, pathology, and criminality come to be associated with non-White communities.”
Symposium speakers will discuss what Nova Scotian, Canadian, and American community members, professors, researchers, students, environmental organizations and other NGOs, health professionals, and policymakers can learn from one another about using research, policy, and community advocacy and activism to address the social, economic, and health impacts of the relationship between race, place, space, and the environment in Indigenous and Black communities.
The symposium will kick off with a lecture by the "father of environmental justice" Dr. Robert Bullard (Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning & Environmental Policy, Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs, Texas Southern University) on Thursday, October 26, 2017 and continue the following day with a keynote from Dr. George Lipsitz (Department of Black Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara) as well as presentations and panels from a diverse array of American, Nova Scotian, and Canadian speakers on Friday, October 27.
For more information and to register, please see the Facebook Event Page: https://tinyurl.com/y9qedgop
In the 2016-2017 academic year, I volunteered for ECELAW as a Pro Bono student through the Schulich School of Law. Four other classmates and I were asked to find environmental law cases from throughout Atlantic Canada on issues, such as access to information, waste management, toxic substances, and contaminated sites. All five of us were first-year law students, and all of us were new to legal research. Learning how to search efficiently and effectively for environmental case law took a lot of practice—and a lot of trial and error too.
Legal research can be daunting. Depending on the questions you want answered and the information you hope to discover, it can be hard to know where to start. The most sophisticated online databases can only be accessed through paid subscriptions, and although open-access databases like CanLII offer a wealth of information, it isn’t always easy to find what you need if you aren’t sure what to look for. Fledgling law students face a steep learning curve when they tackle legal research for the first time, but members of the public who have no legal training at all face even bigger hurdles.
ECELAW’s online legal Information Library was created years ago, and it has always been open-access and intended for public use. The library exists to make environmental law information more accessible to the public. Users can search for environmental law cases by province or by subject matter, and the library can point them to relevant legislation and some secondary sources too. ECELAW’s goal in maintaining the library is to make it easier for members of the public to learn about environmental law in Atlantic Canada.
This summer, a Schulich Internship from the Schulich School of Law made it possible for me to finish the first of a series of major updates to the Information Library. All of the research completed by Pro Bono students over the past two years has now been edited and added to the library, and the result is hundreds of new case summaries on issues that are relevant to our region. There are also new resources designed to make the library more accessible. A “How to Use This Library” feature offers some pointers on conducting legal research, a Glossary offers basic definitions of important legal terms, and a Feedback form makes it easy for users to submit questions and comments.
In the coming months, Pro Bono students will be working to prepare further updates to the legislation and secondary sources sections of the library. Other Pro Bono students will be laying the foundations for a whole new section on Aboriginal and Indigenous law in environmental contexts. I can’t wait to see the library continue to grow, and I’m looking forward to playing a part in its ongoing development. More than anything, though, I’m excited to see how members of the public—that’s you!—respond to the resource.
We want this library to serve you well, so if you want a new question answered in our FAQs section, a new term added to the Glossary, or a new category of cases added to the database, let us know! The Information Library is here for you, and you can help to shape it.
ECELAW is looking forward to taking part in KAIROS Canada's Reconciliation in Our Watershed event this week in Halifax!
On Thursday evening, ECELAW Executive Director, Lisa Mitchell will join a panel discussion on environmental racism at the Halifax North Memorial Library, and on Saturday morning ECELAW Office Manager and Schulich law student Tina Northrup will facilitate a conversation on the roles that courts can play in Indigenous attempts to protect local watersheds.
Film screenings and panel discussions on Thursday and Friday evening are free and open to the public, and we encourage everyone to attend!