Teens Gather Around Environmental Racism


Triennium youth talk EJ issues full classroom

What is environmental racism? What constitutes environmental “justice” for all? The discussions of these and other questions with the fabulous teens at the Presbyterian Youth Triennium last week were lively, stimulating, and meaningful.

Triennium youth discuss EJ small group 2

More than 85 young people made their way to this workshop on the Friday morning of Triennium, even as they had other workshop choices, outdoor recreation, exhibit hall activities and even the option to sleep in or use the free time as they wished. Even more impressive was the fact that almost all of these young people stayed, grabbing every inch of floor space, in a room that couldn’t seat more than 30! We had a full crowd and an even fuller conversation!

Triennium youth talk EJ hands up

One teen mentioned his own community’s problem with a landfill. Another spoke of her experience of meeting Peruvian teens and hearing about the hunger and environmental problems there. Still a third mentioned Native American lands and the environmental justice issues they knew of there, including the Keystone pipeline and other fossil fuel issues on those lands. Others debated how much good our personal consumer choices would do, how much new “solutions” might work, and why it mattered as people of faith.

Triennium youth talk EJ small group

This experience gave me much hope and excitement in a time of grave environmental distress. The commitment, thoughtfulness, and energy of the young people in the room was inspiring and I am so thankful for the opportunity to have met them!

Triennium youth discuss EJ hallway overflow 2

Small groups discussed five case studies (La Oroya, Peru; Flint, Michigan; Warren County, North Carolina; general urban environmental injustice; general rural environmental injustice). We also watched an “environmental racism” introductory video (click here to view), and also had this video (that we ran out of time for- but still recommend). Our powerpoint (in pdf) is here: EJ for PYT Go group pdf version.


If you’d like other resources on environmental justice, contact PHP/Environmental Ministries and we’d love to be in conversation with you.







5 Responses to “Teens Gather Around Environmental Racism”

  1. Louise Mc Rae

    I am always impressed and comforted by the commitment of the youth today! They truly are our future and I am encouraged by their fervor.


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