For more than three decades and in more than a dozen books, Professor Robert D. Bullard has documented that healthy places and healthy people are highly correlated. The poorest of the poor within the United States have the worst health and live in the most degraded environments. Bullard’s lecture explores how the environment justice framework redefined environmentalism and challenged institutional racism and the dominant environmental protection paradigm. Much of his life’s work has been devoted to uncovering the underlying assumptions that contribute to and produce unequal protection and brings to the surface the ethical and political questions of “who gets what, when, where, why, and how much.” Individuals who physically live on the “wrong side of the tracks” are subjected to elevated environmental health threats and more than their fair share of preventable diseases. Addressing equity is prerequisite to achieving healthy, sustainable, and livable communities for all.
Robert D. Bullard is a distinguished professor of urban planning and environmental policy in the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University in Houston. He is often described as the “father of environmental justice” and is the author of eighteen books that address sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, emergency response, smart growth, and regional equity. In 2008, Newsweek named him one of “13 Environmental Leaders of the Century.” In 2013, he was honored with the Sierra Club John Muir Award, the first African American to win the award. In 2015, Iowa State University presented him its National Alumni Merit Award, and the same year, the American Bar Association presented him with the Excellence in Environmental, Energy, and Resources Stewardship Award. His latest books include Environmental Health and Racial Equality in the United States: Strategies for Building Just, Sustainable and Livable Communities (2011) and T he Wrong Complexion for Protection: How the Government Response to Disaster Endangers African American Communities (2012).