Come Learn About the Complex Relationship between Black, Indigenous and Other People of Color (BIPOC) and the Natural Environment at “Black & Brown in a Green Future: Natural Spaces as Sites of Liberation”

October 22, 2020


Northridge — Chicana and Chicano Studies, Recreation and Tourism Management and the University Student Union (USU) invite all CSUN students to learn about the complexities of American history as it connects to green space, race and the power to shape the places we live in at “Black & Brown in a Green Future”. On Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m., join us for this powerful program that will introduce you to the underlying connections between systemic racism and the environment from Dr. Carolyn Finney’s book, “Black Faces, White Spaces”.

“Our goal is to enrich the longstanding commitment to stewardship among communities of color in order to advance environmental justice at CSUN” said Dr. Stevie Ruiz, Assistant Professor, Chicana and Chicano Studies. With recent social changes such as the renaming of existing institutions, removal of confederate statues and by saying their names, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many more, this is a special opportunity for CSUN students to inform themselves on how Dr. Carolyn Finney navigated her lived experiences to discover the impact of being resilient in response to recent environmental and social transformations. 

Dr. Mechelle Best and Dr. Suzanne Pierre will be moderating a conversation with Dr. Carolyn Finney as she guides us through the power of resistance and resilience in response to environmental and social challenges in our cities, parks and beyond. “The strong and complex relationship between Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC) and the natural environment has always existed. Like so much of our rich cultural and natural heritage, this relationship has too often been superseded by the narrative wrought by a system that has consistently sought to erase our voices and lived experiences. I am excited that at CSUN we continue to amplify such experiences to remind our students and other stakeholders that they matter, we matter” said Dr. Mechelle Best, Chair, Recreation and Tourism Management, CSUN.  Join us to for the compelling conversation with Dr. Carolyn Finney.

Dr. Carolyn Finney is a storyteller, author and a cultural geographer. The aim of her work is to develop greater cultural competency within environmental organizations and institutions, challenge media outlets on their representation of difference and increase awareness of how privilege shapes who gets to speak to environmental issues and determine policy and action. Dr. Mechelle Best is a professor and the current Chair of the Department of Recreation and Tourism Management at CSUN. As a former Fulbright/Organization of American States Scholar for the Eastern Caribbean, her interests in cultural heritage, natural resource use and sustainability within tourism will inform our understanding of race and ethnicity being impacted by our environments. Dr. Suzanne Pierre, terrestrial biogeochemist and forest ecologist, a queer woman of color and first generation American, is the current director of the Critical Ecology Lab, a nonprofit research lab uncovering the social underpinnings of global ecological chance. She is also the Environmental Scientist and Senior Environmental Educator at the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco. 

Together, we’ll be enlightened by their engaging presentation on “Black & Brown in a Green Future”. To be part of it, join us over Zoom ( For more information, please visit

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