Climate, Energy and Social Justice @ Howard University

Systemic socioeconomic, political, technological, moral and ethical change are needed to fully grapple with climate change.  Issues of climate change and social justice are inextricable.  While our current modes of energy use based on fossil fuel combustion continue to drive climate change, fossil fuel use is intimately woven into our daily lives and deeply influences our politics and governance, at scales from the local to the global.  Confronting climate change and changing the current energy system requires more than just simplistic arguments to move away from fossil fuels.  Indeed, many “alternative” energy sources being developed under the neoliberal economic framework continue to have degrading impacts on the environment and social justice.

To have undergraduate and graduate students grapple with the above challenges, I have developed and have started teaching an interdisciplinary class (cross-listed in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Department of Chemical Engineering) at Howard University on climate, energy and social justice.  

The goal of the discussion-based class is to provide students with a critical interdisciplinary understanding of:

the physics of climate change,

how current energy use contributes to climate change, and

the social justice impacts of energy use, climate change and responses to climate change.

Here is the syllabus of the class: