Goals, Commitments and Progress
The pages to the right invite you to explore the College's sustainability related commitments and organizational memberships. They also celebrate awards and rankings that we have achieved. ESF is continually listed among the Nation's top performing colleges, both in terms of sustainable operations and academic programs focused on and offering coursework including sustainability. For more information about sustainability coursework, visit Academic Programs Related to Sustainability.
Explore Current Focus Areas to dive deeper into our buildings & operations, carbon management, energy, environmental justice, sustainable property control & purchasing, green events, transportation, materials management and research programs.
The Sustainability Division recognizes the tremendous need to fight for environmental justice and against injustice. The section below will introduce you to the concept and provide context for past and current environmental injustices in Syracuse. The Sustainability Division and Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity are working to formalize a collaborative relationship to begin working more closely together. An Environmental Justice Focus Area will be created on this site at the appropriate time!
Environmental Justice is not a new concept. The Delegates to the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit drafted and adopted 17 principles of Environmental Justice in October of 1991. These demands range from affirmations of the fundamental right to political, economic, cultural and environmental self-determination of all peoples to requiring that we make the conscious decision to challenge and reprioritize our lifestyles to ensure the health of the natural world for present and future generations.
Environmental justice communities are disproportionately impacted by the negative consequences of unbridled economic growth and resources extraction. They are more apt to be located near incinerators, landfills and brownfields and are more likely to be subjected to air and noise pollution, have less access to healthful and culturally appropriate food, are continually displaced by development and oftentimes have no voice in decision making processes. The resource below further unpacks environmental justice and racism.
Environmental Justice and Syracuse
The City of Syracuse has its own history of environmental injustice. The 15th Ward, located just east and south of Downtown, was the heart of the Black community during the 1950's. This community was decimated as a result of "urban renewal". This video offers more detail and historical context. The resource below explores the continued implications of redlining on environmental justice communities in Syracuse.
Presently, the NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to redevelop sections of the I-81 corridor in Syracuse. This significant project must determine whether to reconstruct the failing overpass or replace it with a community grid.
This project has sparked community dialogue that has highlighted a deep divide between preferred alternatives. ESF Professor Dr. Lemir Teron authored an opinion piece published on Syracuse.com entitled "I-81 plan fails people most affected by construction". Dr. Teron also consults for the NY Civil Liberties Union's I-81 campaign. The savei81.org website advocates for the reconstruction of the overpass.
The ESF community is encouraged to learn the history of Syracuse and to be present and aware of the challenges and opportunities currently facing the community.
Interested in Learning More?
Take EST 415/615 Environmental Justice at ESF!
ESF Professor Dr. Lemir Teron
Dr. Teron teaches Introduction to Environmental Studies (EST 133), Environmental Justice (EST 415/615), Environmental and Energy Auditing (EST 427/627) and Concepts and Principles of Sustainable Development (EST 626).