Vegas Fellows Take Part in Environmental Research Project

This school year, the Las Vegas Action Fellows are conducting interviews for an environmental research project led by the University of Reno (UNR) and the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN). The goal of the study is to demonstrate the environmental injustices that occur in Nevada by sharing powerful narratives illustrating how people are affected disproportionately based on factors such as race, class, gender, age, health, and more.  

The hope is that these personal stories will assist the Nevada legislature to make just and equitable decisions related to the environment’s impact on people. UNR and PLAN expect to finish the study in May 2017 and to offer a preliminary report in January.

To become certified research assistants, the Fellows had to complete four hours of training. Fellows Chloe Hanf and Sara Smith led their first interview on December 3rd.  Some of their reflections are included below:

AFTER CONDUCTING THE INTERVIEW TODAY, WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF?

CHLOE: I am privileged to live where I live.
SARA: Yes. It’s unfair that some people experience air pollution more and asthma more because of where they live.

WHAT DID YOU LEARN TODAY ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT THAT YOU HADN'T THOUGHT ABOUT BEFORE?

CHLOE: I never thought about how living in greener places can make people feel happy.
SARA: It shows that not having [green spaces] can impact our emotional health.

WHAT DID YOU LEARN TODAY THAT COULD REALLY HELP THE CLIMATE MOVEMENT?

SARA: It’s important to make people aware. People live in a bubble. 
CHLOE: Some people feel they don’t have the opportunity to do things to help the planet.
SARA: We need to make connections with how climate change affects us in our daily lives. 
CHLOE: I think about asthma and allergies and how people get sick but don’t connect that it could be because of the environment. We both have science backgrounds but we never thought about the justice part.

WHY ARE STORIES POWERFUL?

SARA: You’re peeking through a glass window of someone’s life. You see the problems as more real. Stories help people relate. I didn’t think about injustice before.
CHLOE: They help us get outside of our bubble.

 

Vernard Williams

Vernard Williams is ACE’s Director of Equity & Inclusion. He is devoted to supporting young people to discover their authentic selves, which he believes best allows them to offer solutions for their communities. Vernard is an engaging speaker and facilitator who has served the United States Court of Appeals as a staff attorney.