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Climate Justice

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The Roots, Experiences, and Future of Climate Justice
Exploring connections with environmental justice

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What is climate justice? Some refer to it as the disparity between the greatest greenhouse gas emitters and those who feel the greatest impacts of climate change, usually countries that contribute the least to the climate crisis. Others define it as the way that climate impacts – severe weather events, sea-level rise, and climatic shifts – will disproportionately impact low-income and communities of color. But what are the roots of the Climate Justice Movement? Some have pointed out that much of it has been drawn from the Environmental Justice Movement, without properly honoring those origins and principles. Where do those of us committed to promoting justice in a world of climate change go from here? This panel hopes to evaluate the complex and nuanced answers to these questions in order to create an equitable and actionable vision of climate justice.


This event is designed as an evaluative discussion of climate justice as a concept and the climate justice movement. It will be both an elevation and a critique of the movement in an attempt to facilitate a larger conversation about what climate justice means and how climate justice can be implemented with intentionality.

Event partners include the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, Earth Refuge, the Rural Beacon Initiative, and the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability. 


Gabriela Nagle Alverio

Gabriela Nagle Alverio is a J.D. & Ph.D. student in the University Program in Environmental Policy (UPEP) with a concentration in Political Science at the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Sanford School of Public Policy. Her research interests broadly include the impacts of climate change on human rights and human security and their policy solutions. She aims to focus her dissertation research on climate-induced migration and conflict. She holds a B.A. in International Relations, a B.A. in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and an M.A. in Environmental Communications from Stanford University. Prior to her time at Duke, she worked as a consultant for a diversity and inclusion firm, Inclusion Design Group.




William Barber III


William J. Barber III works as the Director of Climate and Environmental Justice at The Climate Reality Project and as founder and director of the Rural Beacon Initiative.  William grew up in eastern North Carolina, where, under the tutelage of his father, Bishop William J. Barber II and mother, Rebecca Barber, he developed at an early age a deep commitment to social justice and environmental stewardship. He now works as an environmental and climate justice scholar and advocate, with nearly a decade of social justice organizing experience and deep academic training in both the science and the law behind environmental and climate issues. William received his B.S. in Environmental Physics from North Carolina Central University and earned his juris doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of law, where he focused on environmental law and policy.  He serves on numerous boards, including, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Secretary's Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board, the Southeastern Energy Insecurity Advisory Board, as well as co-chair for the North Carolina Poor People’s Campaign Ecological Devastation committee.  He is interested in the renewable energy field and clean economy, specifically in initiatives that are being taken to promote opportunity for low-income communities and communities of color. He is also heavily interested in environmental policy, having completed work with several environmental advocacy groups, including the UNC Law Center for Climate, Energy, Environment, and Economics; Clean Water for North Carolina; Clean Energy Works, and the Coalition for Green Capital.

Jennifer Hadden


Jennifer Hadden is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland.  She conducts research in international relations, environmental politics, network analysis, non-state actors and social movements.  She received her Ph.D. from Cornell University’s Department of Government and a B.A. with highest honors in Government from Smith College.  


At the University of Maryland she is a faculty affiliate of the Center for International Development and Conflict Management and the Center for Global Sustainability. She held an International Affairs Fellowship from the Council on Foreign Relations for the 2015-2016 academic year, supporting work on the Paris Climate Conference in the Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change at the U.S. Department of State. Dr. Hadden's  book  -- titled Networks in Contention: The Divisive Politics of  Global Climate Change -- was published by Cambridge University Press in 2015.  It received four book awards from the American Political Science Association and the International Political Science Association.

Yumna Kamel


Yumna Kamel is the Executive Director and co-founder of Earth Refuge, which was established to address the gap in legal protections for climate migrants globally. Her work is centred upon legal advocacy; and in particular, empowering affected communities by amplifying their narratives, researching their corresponding legal rights, and ensuring that they are recognised. 


Yumna has a background in asylum and immigration law, and is the Legal Education Officer at the London-based NGO Right to Remain where she maintains the Right to Remain Toolkit, and delivers workshops about the legal system to asylum and migrant groups across the UK.


She completed her LLB at Queen Mary University of London, and was called to the Bar of England & Wales in 2020. She also holds a LLM from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, where she graduated with the Public Interest Fellowship for commitment to social justice.

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Climate change is the growing focus in this country and the same communities contending with historical environmental injustices also face the greatest burdens of the climate crisis. Discussing the future of Environmental Justice is incomplete without discussions of just energy transitions, extreme weather effects, and the growing climate disasters affect on communities around the world.

In September and October, we will be hosting a series of programs that dive more specifically into the growing following around climate justice: the movement's flaws, its potential, and its importance.