Race and Climate Change

In light of the international impact of George Floyd’s death and COVID-19 on communities of color, it’s time to have honest conversations about how the environment, climate change, and racial injustice are converging, and where solutions might lie.

The recording is available on demand, registration required


The Cal Alumni Association invites you to Race and Climate Change, a discussion about how climate change and race intersect nationally and globally, and how this has been happening for generations.

Featuring Berkeley professors Dan Kammen and Sarah E. Vaughn, and host Mary Nemerov ’94, this conversation will explain how collisions such as colonialism, racial injustice, the climate, science, and sustainability have collectively resulted in minority populations being pushed to live in the periphery of communities—a periphery consisting of low-income housing, neighborhoods polluted by toxins, and locations that are vulnerable to sea encroachment or severe weather events. In the US, these populations (largely represented by Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous peoples) not only pay a social price in terms of property ownership, education, and opportunity but also their health.

Kammen and Vaughn will share insight into how communities are building a common language beyond technology and economics and influencing policy makers to rethink traditional representation and distribution. We hope this discussion inspires you to make a difference in your community.

Please note that a recording of this event will be made available for on-demand viewing after July 22, 2021. Register for the event to receive a link to view the recording.


Featured Participants

Professor Dan Kammen
Educated in physics at Cornell and Harvard, Dan Kammen is the Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy at the University of California, Berkeley, with parallel appointments in the Energy and Resources Group, the Goldman School of Public Policy, and the department of Nuclear Engineering. He was appointed the first Environment and Climate Partnership for the Americas (ECPA) Fellow by Secretary of State Hilary R. Clinton in April 2010. Dan is also the founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL), Co-Director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment, and Director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment, and Director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center. He has founded or is on the board of more than 10 companies, and has served the State of California and US federal government in expert and advisory capacities. Dan has authored or co-authored 12 books, written more than 300 peer-reviewed journal publications, testified more than 40 times to U.S. state and federal congressional briefings, and has provided various governments with more than 50 technical reports. He is also a frequent contributor to or commentator in international news media, including Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Financial Times. Dan has also appeared on 60 Minutes (twice), Nova, Frontline, and hosted the six-part Discovery Channel series Ecopolis.

Professor Sarah E. Vaughn
Sarah E. Vaughn is a sociocultural anthropologist working at the intersection of environmental anthropology, critical social theory, and science and technology studies. She received her B.A. in 2006 from Cornell University, majoring as a College Scholar with a focus in anthropology, sociology, and inequality studies. She was awarded a Ph.D. in 2013 from the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. Her research advances understanding of climate change in the Circum-Caribbean while tracking the affective, ethical, and political components of dignity and belonging. At stake in her research are questions about the role climate change has in shaping the materiality of expertise, an ethics of (re)distribution, and narrative form. She is affiliated with the Center for Science, Technology and Medicine, The Program in Critical Theory, and the Program in Development Engineering. Her forthcoming book, Engineering Vulnerability: In Pursuit of Climate Adaptation, explores the weight of history on the frameworks and assemblages of climate adaptation. The book tracks the responses of engineers, ordinary citizens, scientists, military personnel, disaster consultants, and humanitarian workers to climate-related flooding in Guyana, reflecting the surge in state and nongovernmental climate adaptation projects across the world. Their stories illustrate the historical continuities between the operations of the country’s flood infrastructures and people’s concerns about what they might gain or lose from flooding, as well as and the historical discontinuities climate adaptation renders in Guyana.

Host: Mary Nemerov ’94
Mary Nemerov has worked in board development and fundraising for environmental organizations for more than 15 years. Currently, she serves as Chief Philanthropy Officer at the California Academy of Sciences. In this role, she works closely with the Academy’s Board of Trustees and a team of development professionals to raise philanthropic gifts that support the institution’s world-class scientific research, environmental literacy programs, conservation initiatives, and public museum. Previously, Mary worked for many years at the Sierra Club, rising to lead the organization’s Office of Advancement, where she managed membership and direct marketing, planned giving, business partnerships, and major gifts efforts. A graduate of UC Berkeley and the University of Michigan, Mary has led major fundraising efforts in both the Northeast and California.