The celebration of Earth Day, April 22, is the day we set aside each year to draw special attention to the fact that all of us live somewhere – on this beautiful Earth – and that all of us depend on a healthy Earth-home, for our well-being: realities so basic we often take them for granted.
There are many among us, however, who cannot take those realities for granted, because they live, work, or play in communities that are negatively impacted by ecological degradation. This is especially true for minority and low-income populations. And, lest we forget, this is true for other species facing extinction or significant loss of habitat.
It’s become evident, that it’s time to forge a sustainable relationship between humankind and planet Earth, and that sustainability will not be achieved without fostering justice within and between societies. It is this dual, intimately connected challenge which inspired the creation of Seattle University's Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability (CEJS).
As the first Center for Excellence developed through the SU Academic Strategic Action Plan, the CEJS will promote scholarly activity and community engagement with the specific goals of:
- Making SU a recognized local, regional, national, and international leader in the scholarship and teaching of environmental justice and sustainability (EJS);
- Supporting faculty and student scholarship regarding EJS;
- Co-sponsoring lectures, symposia, and workshops with SU’s diverse environmental programs that reflect the unique ethical perspective of our Jesuit-Catholic tradition, inspire the engagement of EJS scholars with the broader community, and lead to the advancement of public policy;
- Fostering partnerships for scholarships that connect with EJS programs, including the global network of Jesuit universities; and
- Serving as a clearinghouse of information for all of SU’s EJS initiatives.
Establishing the CEJS is a significant step in the university’s commitment to not only becoming more sustainable as an institution, but to advancing scholarship and educating the next generation of leaders -- trained and motivated to create a more sustainable, just world.
Visit us at www.seattleu.edu/cejs. And, check out SU’s campus sustainability efforts at: www.seattleu.edu/sustainability.