medium_SCRA_logomark_4col.jpg

The
Community
Psychologist

Volume 53   Number 1 Winter 2020

Environment and Justice

Edited by Manuel Riemer, Wilfrid Laurier University

Greetings from New Environment and Justice Interest Group Co-Chairs

Written by Carlie D. Trott, University of Cincinnati and Kai Reimer-Watts, Wilfrid Laurier University

On September 25th, 2019, the Environment and Justice (E+J) Interest Group convened online: Sixteen members joined from around the globe, including from New Zealand, Hungary, Brazil, Canada, and the U.S., including Puerto Rico. Thanks to the efforts of Manuel Riemer, interim Chair, we were able to come together to think about new leadership and new directions for the interest group. During the call, we — Carlie Trott from the University of Cincinnati and Kai Reimer-Watts from Wilfrid Laurier University — emerged as co-Chairs for the 2019-2020 year. In this, our first contribution to the TCP column, we wanted to take a moment and introduce ourselves as co-Chairs and talk a bit about what we envision for the future of the E+J Interest Group.

Carlie D. Trott, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cincinnati where she heads the Collaborative Sustainability lab. Her work emphasizes university-community partnerships for collaborative research and action to advance social justice and environmental sustainability. Themes in her current research include: (1) Climate Change and Environmental Justice: Developing community-based, participatory, and arts-based methodologies to promote agency and action on environmental problems in local settings; (2) Community Partnerships: Employing community-engaged research methods (e.g., participatory action research) to strengthen community resilience, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and enhance undergraduate higher education; and (3) STEM Engagement: Applying interdisciplinary and action-based educational approaches to support STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) engagement by marginalized groups. Dr. Trott also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in social and community psychology at the University of Cincinnati where she advises students in the Community and Organizational Research for Action (CORA) doctoral program.

 EJ_Trott_Photo_1_300dpi.jpg

Kai Reimer-Watts speaking at the Laurier Climate Strike, September 27th, 2019. From left to right: Pamela Rojas, Kai Reimer-Watts, Ann Marie Beals. The banner behind, in full, reads “We Are All in this Together”, and was carried in front of the Laurier march which several hundred students, staff, and faculty at Laurier attended.

Dr. Trott received her B.A. from Columbia College Chicago and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Applied Social Psychology from Colorado State University (CSU). Prior to being at UC, she completed a postdoctoral research fellowship with CSU’s STEM Center where she conducted research and evaluation around NSF-funded STEM education and outreach initiatives in the areas of climate science and sustainability. Dr. Trott’s research has been funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI), and the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA), specifically the Public Policy small grants program. Her work has been published in the journals Science Education, Action Research, Environmental Education Research, Studies in Higher Education, the Journal of Social and Political Psychology, and Journal of Geoscience Education. She currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Social Issues. As co-Chair of the E+J Interest Group, she hopes to raise visibility of the interest group and its activities, while facilitating the progress of action teams (see below).

EJ_Reimer-Watts_Photo_2_large.jpg

Members of the Collaborative Sustainability Lab with Winona LaDuke (Native American land rights activist, environmentalist, economist, politician, and author) following her talk at the Annual Gathering of the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Cincinnati. From left to right: Emmanuel-Sathya Gray, Stephanie Lam, Winona LaDuke, Carlie Trott, and Leyla Ashraf.

Kai Reimer-Watts is a 2nd-year PhD student in Community Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University, with a Master of Climate Change from the University of Waterloo. His research focuses on the intersections and community impact of art-activism and climate justice, as embodied by the ongoing climate organizing work he continues to play a leadership role in within the broader Waterloo Region. Currently, Kai is co-leading a participatory action project using the arts-based method Photovoice, to stimulate powerful conversations on social and environmental well-being within the context of the high-performance green building (HPGB) evolv1, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Previous community-engaged climate projects include co-leading the creation of a “Climate is Life” mural for climate justice at the heart of Laurier campus; producing the feature film Beyond Crisis to support community dialogue and ongoing action on climate change; co-leading community art builds for the Global Climate Strikes; co-leading climate emergency and carbon budget declarations being passed through the Region of Waterloo; and organizing for ongoing climate strikes here in Waterloo Region. Kai believes strongly in the power of the arts and arts-based practice to help evolve new narratives and collective “signposts” that are critical for grappling with super-wicked problems including the intersections of climate change and justice, opening dialogue, hearts and minds while activating communities toward building a far more caring and sustainable future.

Over the coming year, we expect to launch these new action teams, so please look out for emails to the SCRA listserv. Once action teams are formed, additional communication will take place on the E+J listserv, so please email Jean Hill (jeanhill@scra27.org) if you would like to be added. Finally, to say hello, ask questions, or to join the E+J Interest Group, please feel free to reach out to Carlie Trott at carlie.trott@uc.edu or Kai Reimer-Watts at reim0490@mylaurier.ca. Wishing everyone a productive and painless end of semester!