Our most recent symposium was The 2016-17 WFI Symposium: The Just Transition Conference: Communicating Power in an Age of Climactic Change.
Rather than offering a traditional academic conference, in 2016-17, the WFI instead sponsored a series of events on April 7-8, 2017, all centered on on climate justice, the intersection of environnmentalism and racism, and just transition advocacy.
- The symposium kicked off with an interdisciplinary panel, “Science, Expertise, and Environmental Justice,” on Friday, April 7th. This panel brought together a rich diversity of perspectives on climate justice by featuring rhetorical scholar Phaedra C. Pezzullo from the University of Colorado, Boulder, professor of environmental studies Giovanna Di Chiro from Swarthmore College, and environmental chemist Amanda Grannas from Villanova. A spirited Q&A followed the presentations, focusing on what it means to engage questions of environmental justice in a political climate discouraging or denying climate science, and negatively sanctioning advocacy efforts.
- The next day, Saturday, April 8th, a group of students, faculty, activists, and Philadelphia residents embarked on a daylong Environmental Justice Tour of select Philadelphia sites. The Environmental Justice tour allowed us an opportunity to engage firsthand with Philadelphia groups engaged in the struggle for climate justice; we were able to both witness sites of environmental injustice and sites of amazing environmental activism.
- Following the conclusion of the EJ Tour, the WFI Symposium wrapped up with our KEYNOTE EVENT, a public address by Aaron Mair, the President of the Sierra Club, and José T. Bravo of The Just Transition Alliance. These two vital, engaging figures talked through their advocacy efforts, the obstacles that just transition activists face, and engaged with the audience about the pressing issues of justice surrounding climate change, racism, and workers' rights.
These events truly enacted the WFI’s mission to create and strengthen a global network of Communication scholars and professionals, and to generate new conversations about communication, social change, and climate justice.