In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we ask “5 Questions” of Michael Dorsey, visiting professor of environmental studies. In September, he was reappointed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Advisory Committee.
Q: Professor Dorsey, you’re a visiting professor of environmental studies and a fellow in the College of the Environment’s Think Tank. What is the 2012-13 Think Tank theme, and what is your role in the year-long exploration?
A: The 2012-2013 College of the Environment’s Think Tank theme is: environmental justice and global health.
Despite growing awareness of the problems of environmental injustice and related impacts on health and sustainability, many communities here in the U.S. and around the globe remain vulnerable or are being put at risk in new ways. This year’s COE Think Tank will use our collective interdisciplinary strengths and practical experience to seek to tackle these complex issues. Using complementary, yet distinct, disciplinary approaches to examine the connection between environmental justice and global health, we will explore the health and livelihood implications of environmental injustice from local to global scales –from neighborhood struggles for food justice to regional responses to mountaintop removal in Appalachia and environmental activism in East Asia to the plight of island communities facing unfolding global climate disruption.
Q: Why did you want to be part of the Think Tank, and what do you hope will be accomplished?
A: The College of Environment’s Think Tank is a novel, innovative space for learning; it is a unique space for environmental autodidactical fellowship. Individual learning blossoms as a result of camaraderie and collegial labor—of both peer faculty and dynamic student fellows.