Environmental Justice in the US (part 1): Fighting the good fight

In this episode we discuss Environmental Justice (EJ) in the United States and our guest Mustafa Santiago Ali’s 24 years working at the US Environmental Protection Agency. This is the first half of a two-part interview.

  • What is EJ and what does it mean in the context of social injustice?
  • Why do air pollution and climate change disproportionately affect Black communities?
  • What is the role and history of the US Environmental Protection Agency in striving for EJ?

Our guest Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali is a thought-leader, strategist, policymaker and activist committed to the fight for environmental justice and economic equity. He has worked at the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) for 24 years. During his time at the EPA, he also served as the Assistant Associate Administrator for Environmental Justice and Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization. At the EPA he elevated environmental justice issues and worked across federal agencies to strengthen environmental justice policies, programs and initiatives. In March 2017, he resigned from the EPA to join the Hip Hop Caucus where he led the strategic direction, expansion and operation of their portfolio on climate, environmental justice, economic equality and civic engagement. He currently serves as the Vice President of Environmental Justice, Climate, and Community Revitalization at the National Wildlife Federation and is also the founder of Revitalization Strategies, a business focused on moving the most vulnerable communities from “surviving to thriving.” Find him on Twitter.

Our interviewer for this episode is Dr. Crystal Upperman. She has spent more than a decade working on climate change and public health. She has worked as a Sr. Researcher at the World Resources Institute, led climate adaptation and business development at AECOM, along with stints at the Maryland Department of Health, Georgia Environmental Protection Division, and R&D for BASF. She has a PhD in Environmental Sciences and a Master’s in Public Administration. She’s a proud Trinidadian. And, recently, she has joined Aclima as a Senior Scientist to oversee the company’s efforts to integrate public health information and informed risk characterization into their products. Find her on Twitter.

Episode references:

Music by Ritesh Prasanna.

Podcast website: https://atmospherictales.com