The Business of Saving the Planet: Voices of Environmental Justice & Activism


Location: Online

Voices for Environmental Justice & Activism

"Voices of Environmental Justice & Activism,” the 3rd panel in Johns Hopkins University's Business of Saving our Planet speaker series, will focus on leadership through activism and how the current pandemic exacerbates the environmental justice divide. Panel topics will include how activism is evolving, as movements and organizations are learning to adapt their tools and systems to mobilize for the current climate, food deserts as environmental justice issues and the innate bias of online grocery delivery, and how social and/environmental inequality has contributed to the impact of Covid-19 on low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

Moderated by Johns Hopkins student Scott Atkinson, the panel will feature:

Mayor Justin Cummings – Justin earned a Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz after receiving a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Biology in 2006. His Ph.D. focused on understanding how trees used for forest restoration negatively suppressed the regeneration of invasive grass in Panama. After finishing his Ph.D., Justin pursued a two-year post-doc at Florida International University where he studied how water levels and seasonality affect ecosystem carbon flux in the Everglades. In 2015, Justin was hired to be the Director of the UCSC Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program to support conservation efforts around the globe and to educate a new generation of environmental and conservation leaders. A long-time community activist, Justin ran for Mayor of Santa Cruz on a platform of policies including rent control, workers’ rights/living wage, and preserving Santa Cruz’s open spaces. In 2008, Justin made history as Santa Cruz’s first black male mayor, the city’s first millennial mayor, and potentially the first punk-rock-loving mayor.

Jacqui Patterson, Director of the Environmental & Climate Justice Program, NAACP – Jacqui is a leading researcher, program manager, coordinator, advocate, and activist working on environmental and climate justice, women‘s rights, violence against women, racial justice, and economic justice. A Johns Hopkins AAP alum with a master’s degree in public health, Jacqui served as a Senior Women’s Rights Policy Analyst for ActionAid where she integrated a women’s rights lens with the issues of food rights, macroeconomics, and climate change. Her publications include:

  • “Climate Change is a Civil Rights Issue”
  • “Disasters, Climate Change Uproot Women of Color”
  • “Coal Blooded; Putting Profits Before People”
  • “Just Energy Policies: Reducing Pollution, Creating Jobs”
  • “And the People Shall Lead: Centralizing Frontline Community Leadership in the Movement Towards a Sustainable Planet”
  • And a book chapter, “Equity in Disasters: Civil and Human Rights Challenges in the Context of Emergency Events” in the book Building Community Resilience Post-Disaster.

mark! Lopez - Executive Director at East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice and the 2017 Goldman Prize Winner, mark! comes from a family with a long history of activism. He was raised in the Madres del Este de Los Angeles Santa Isabel (Mothers of East LA Santa Isabel – MELASI), an organization co-founded by his grandparents, Juana Beatriz Gutierrez and Ricardo Gutierrez. This set his trajectory as a community activist. He has engaged in a wide array of student activism at UC Santa Cruz where he earned his B.A. in Environmental Studies. In addition, he has taught university courses at UC Santa Cruz, Cal State Northridge, and UCLA Extension. mark! earned his M.A. from the Chicana/o Studies Department at Cal State Northridge, where he completed his Master’s thesis titled ”The Fire: Decolonizing Environmental Justice.” mark! joined East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice as a member three years before joining the staff. After serving as Lead Organizer for East Yard Communities and Co-Director with EYCEJ Co-Founder Angelo Logan, mark! is now the Executive Director. He organizes in the area where he was born, raised, and continues to live. mark! is the 2017 North American Recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize. Videos of mark! include:

View the other panels in the series on YouTube:

  1. Creating a Sustainable Global Food System
  2. Technology, Innovation & Intelligence in Conservation

Register today!