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Global Perspectives on Environmental Justice

Global Perspectives on Environmental Justice

In spring 2017, PEI  launched Global Perspectives on Environmental Justice. This event series featured writers, filmmakers, other visual artists, and scholars whose work engages fundamental questions of environmental justice. Our visitors addressed the political, imaginative and ethical challenges that result from unequal exposure to environmental risk and unequal access to environmental resources.

Global Perspectives on Environmental Justice have been coordinated by:
Anne McClintock, A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Rob Nixon, Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Family Professor in Humanities and the Environment.

Event Series co-sponsored by Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Spring Calendar of Events in the Series “Global Perspectives on Environmental Justice”


PEFFPrinceton Environmental Film Festival

March 27 through April 2 | 65 Witherspoon Street, Princeton

For the first time, PEI has established a formal collaboration with the Princeton Environmental Film Festival, organized through the Princeton Public Library. The festival’s theme this year is Community. Several films on the program have a strong environmental justice focus, including: Catching the Sun, dir. Shalini Kantayya; Red Power Energy, dir. Lisa Olken; The Land Beneath Our Feet, dir. Gregg Mitman and Sarita Siegel; and Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, dir. Matt Tyrnauer.

Founded in 2006, the PEFF’s mission is to share exceptional documentary films and engage our community in exploring environmental sustainability from a wide range of angles and perspectives.

The festival began in 2007 and has run for 10 consecutive years with more than 100 days of programming,

Our screenings are free of admission and accompanied by a Q&A with film directors and producers, as well as talks by invited speakers visiting the festival or by those who live here in our community. We also offer related events with community partners to connect people with opportunities to engage in sustainable actions and initiatives year-round. As we grow the festival and consider its sustainability, we are mindful to expand our reach while keeping the character of the festival focused on being a great and a special local event.

View Schedule of Events on Film Festival website.

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The-Islands-and-the-WhalesPrinceton Environmental Film Festival Screening - The Islands and the Whales

March 27, 7:00-8:30pm | James M. Stewart '32 Theater

In their remote home in the North Atlantic the Faroe Islanders have always eaten what nature could provide, proud to put local food on the table. The land yields little, so they have always relied on harvesting their seas. Hunting whales and seabirds kept them alive for generations, and gave them the way of life they love; a life they would pass on to their children. But today they face a grave threat to this tradition. It is not the controversy surrounding whaling that threatens the Faroese way of life; the danger is coming from the whales themselves. The Faroese are among the first to feel the effects of our ever more polluted oceans. They have discovered that their beloved whales are toxic, contaminated by the outside world. What once secured their survival now endangers their children and the Faroe Islanders must make a choice between health and tradition.

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Death-by-a-Thousand-CutsPrinceton Environmental Film Festival Screening - Death by a Thousand Cuts

March 28, 7:00-8:30pm | Garden Theatre

Screening Death by a Thousand Cuts followed by a Q & A with co-director Juan Mejia Botero.

In Death By A Thousand Cuts, Eligio Eloy Vargas, alias Melaneo, a Dominican Park Ranger in the Sierra de Bahoruco National Park was found brutally murdered by machete. At the time, he was believed to have been on patrol investigating an illegal charcoal production site often run by Haitians coming across the border into protected Dominican forests. This murder becomes the metaphor for the larger story of increasing tension between Haiti and the Dominican Republic over illicit charcoal exploitation and mass deforestation.Death By A Thousand Cuts is a feature-length documentary film that is a double murder investigation, seeking to learn about the circumstances of Melaneo’s death and the systematic eradication of the Dominican forests.

Juan Mejía Botero
Juan Mejia Botero is an award-winning film director with over 15 years of experience in feature and short documentaries. His work has focused primarily on human rights abuses and struggles for social justice around the world. He has worked extensively in Latin America and the Caribbean where he has directed a number of films around matters of forced displacement, ethnic autonomy, state violence, and the competition for natural resources, which have played widely in the festival circuit and also television. Juan’s directorial debut, Uprooted, won a number of awards and aired nationally on PBS. His feature documentary The Battle for Land, was a winner of a production grant from the Colombian Ministry of Culture Cinema Fund and a postproduction grant from the Tribeca Film Institute.

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Red-Power-EnergyPrinceton Environmental Film Festival Screening - Red Power Energy

March 29, 4:30-6:00pm | Friend Center Room 101

A provocative film from the American Indian perspective that reframes today’s controversial energy debate while the fate of the environment hangs in the balance. Red Power Energy illustrates the complex realities of Indian reservations grappling with how to balance their natural resources with their traditional beliefs.

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Catching the SunPrinceton Environmental Film Festival Screening - Catching the Sun​

March 29, 7:00-8:30pm | Princeton Public Library

Screening Catching the Sun followed by conversation with director Shalini Kantayya.

As the global race to lead the clean energy future kicks into full gear, an unlikely ensemble of characters in the US and China make radical moves: activist Van Jones transitions from leading a solar-installation training program in Richmond, CA into the spotlight of public policy as his trainees fight for employment in a market that hasn’t caught up to their skillset; Wally Jiang, a charismatic Chinese entrepreneur, dreams of building a “solar city” in the Texan desert. Can the US build a clean energy economy to help solve both inequality and climate change?


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Amitav Ghosh"War, Race and Empire in the Anthropocene: Some Occluded Aspects of Climate Change" lecture by Amitav Ghosh

March 30, 4:30-6:00pm | Friend Center 101

Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He is the author of one book of non-fiction, a collection of essays and eight novels, of which the most recent is The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (2016). His books have won prizes in India, Europe and Myanmar and he has been awarded honorary degrees by the Sorbonne, Paris, and by Queens College, New York. He divides his time between Brooklyn, Goa and Kolkata.

The fact that the discussion of climate change has largely been centered in Western universities has skewed the discourse in certain directions. Since much of it is produced by scientists, engineers and economists the subject has widely come to be conceptualized as essentially an economic problem which can be dealt with through technological and technocratic fixes. Those who take a more political approach, like Naomi Klein and George Monbiot, also conceive of the issue in economic terms, framing it in relation to capitalism or neo-liberalism. These frameworks tend to exclude many of the overarching cultural, political, geographical and historical contexts of global warming. This talk poses the question: what other frameworks could be relevant to this subject?

Event co-sponsored by Department of English

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Land-Beneath-Our-FeetPrinceton Environmental Film Festival Screening - Land Beneath Our Feet

March 31, 4:30-6:00pm | Bowen Hall Room 222

Screening - Land Beneath Our Feet followed by conversation with co-director, Gregg Mitman

The Land Beneath Our Feet follows a young Liberian man, uprooted by war, who returns from the USA with never-before-seen footage of Liberia’s past. The uncovered footage is embraced as a national treasure. Depicting a 1926 corporate land grab, it is also an explosive reminder of eroding land rights.In post-conflict Liberia, individuals and communities are pitted against multinational corporations, the government, and each other in life-threatening disputes over land. What can this ghostly footage offer a nation, as it debates radical land reforms that could empower communities to shape a more diverse, stable and sustainable future?

Event co-sponsored by African American Studies.

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Pine-BarrensPrinceton Environmental Film Festival Screening - The Pine Barrens

April 1, 7:00-8:30pm | Frist, Room 302

The Pine Barrens explores the symbiotic yet sometimes destructive relationship between man and nature. Through impressions of moments with individuals spanning several years, the film looks the ways in which a sense of place has influence on identity and at how the feeling of loss, both of a way of life and through the gradual development of the environment which gave birth to that way of life, impacts those identities.A unique performance edition with The Ruins of Friendship Orchestra.

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art_of_environmental_justiceArt of Environmental Justice in an Expanded Field: A Symposium on Creative Activism and Eco-Politics across Boundaries

April 13, 9:00-6:00pm | Betts Auditorium, Architecture Building

This one-day event brings together leading international contemporary artists who engage problems of environmental justice in expansive ways. The purpose: to highlight the critical power of visual art to reimagine the politics of ecology across various boundaries—not just national borders but also socioeconomic classes, identities, disciplines, species, and media. Speakers will discuss creative projects that demonstrate the far-reaching capacity of visual art to interpret urgent ecological issues and problems of environmental inequality for a broad public. Participants will also consider the aesthetic and practical implications of environmental justice for expanding art itself. The format: nine 30-minute artist presentations, organized in three sessions with faculty moderators and audience Q&A. Lunch available and reception following.

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Standing RockStanding Rock From the Eyes of Three Filmmakers

April 14, 4:30pm to 6:30:00pm | McCormick Hall 101

Screening and panel discussion. Three filmmakers screen clips from their films-in-progress, followed by discussion.
Heather Rae (producer) and Cody Lucich (director). Film title: AKICITA
Julie Bridgham (director): Film title: Standing Rock

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