From Environmental to Climate Justice

Posted December 2, 2020 | By ale_bellot

Digital Education Programming Presented by the
Center for Health & Wellbeing

The principle of environmental justice requires that all persons and communities are entitled to equal treatment concerning the distribution of environmental benefits and burdens, without regard to race or socio-economic status. Environmental protection and human rights are inextricably linked. Humans need nature to survive; “healthy ecosystems are the foundation for human life and for the fulfillment of the rights that are inherent to human life.” When people do not have access to the basics of clean water, air, land, and food, then it affects the realization of their human rights.

Climate change has been discussed as the “biggest threat of our time.” Viewing the scientific evidence and impacts of climate change through a human rights lens, climate change impacts the effective enjoyment of a range of human rights, our lives, our health, our children and our natural resources.

Climate Justice links human rights to achieve a human-centered approach to safeguard these rights of the most vulnerable while sharing the burdens and benefits of climate equitably and fairly. The perpetuation of business as usual in the climate change era endangers the future of human existence. Consumers, politicians, grassroots activists, businesses, and investors have recognized this connection and are all playing a role in acting on climate and addressing the negative impacts.

This program, presented by Josephine M. Balzac-Arroyo, Rollins College Department of Social Entrepreneurship, will examine the ethical motivations behind the movements, the actions being taken and how both environmental and climate justice are necessary in order to protect our planet and present future generations.

About Your Program Presenter
Josephine M. Balzac-Arroyo is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Entrepreneurship. Professor Balzac-Arroyo is a licensed attorney admitted to practice in Florida. She was the President of the Law Office of Josephine Balzac, P.A. from April 2014 to June 2018. In November 2019, she was highlighted in the GW Law’s Environment and Energy Program 50th Anniversary Newsletter as a GW Alumni prominent in the environmental and energy fields. In September 2018, she was invited to attend a meeting with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on climate policy. In 2017, she was appointed to serve on the City of Orlando, Mayor’s Green Works Task Force. In October 2017, she was recognized by U.S. Representative Darren Soto as a community leader as a part of Hispanic Heritage Month. In May 2017, the FAMU College of Law presented her law office with the Distinguished Alumni Awards in Professional Excellence Award – Solo Practitioner.

Josephine received her LL.M. degree in International Environmental Law at The George Washington University Law School, where she served as a Randolph C. Shaw Research Fellow for the Associate Dean of Environmental Studies and interned at the EPA. She holds a Juris Doctorate from Florida A&M University College of Law where she graduated as Valedictorian. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Central Florida.

While at Rollins College her greatest honor is receiving two teaching awards, an Outstanding Faculty Award and the Walter E. Barden Distinguished Teaching Award. In April 2018, she represented Rollins at the TEDxOrlando. She is actively involved in the local community, frequently participating as an avid speaker and advocate on environmental, climate, and social justice issues. She has published articles and a book chapter on environmental justice and climate justice. She also served her community as the former Vice President of the Board of Directors for IDEAS For Us and is now currently serving on the Public Interest and Law School Liaison Committees of the Environmental and Land Use Section of the Florida Bar, and the Steering Committee for “Call to the Bar: Lawyers for Common Sense Action on Climate Change.”