Environmental Equity and Social Justice

Can art and activism address problems like water pollution and police violence? These videos explore how artists and activists raise awareness about conservation, environmental hazards, and social justice through both art installations and community demonstrations. Help inspire students to work towards social and environmental change in their own communities.

  • Art + Activism with Sanaz Mazinani | KQED Art School

    Sanaz Mazinani is an artist with a background in political activism who uses art to inspire dialogue about perceptions of cultural identity. In the latest episode of Art School, she describes her current art practice. Using online media focusing on world news and pop culture as her source material, she creates symmetrical photo collages and videos that abstract familiar images and invite viewers to reconsider visual culture and its meaning and influence on public opinion and social justice.

    In the second video Mazinani expands on the intention of traditional of Islamic ornamentation. Check out the entire collection of KQED Art School videos!

    Grades: 6-12
  • Social Practice Art: Engaging Community Through Art | KQED Arts

    Social practice art can look like just about anything: journalism, community organizing, even a shop. The goal is to engage the audience and help people think about social issues in new ways. “For me,” says social-practice artist and professor Stephanie Syjuco, “the best social practice projects actually try to attract people to join a conversation.”

    Two artists, Chris Treggiari and Chris Johnson, recently went into the streets of Oakland to record conversations and make art.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Painting A Future for Wildlife with Jane Kim and Ink Dwell | KQED Art School

    Take a trip to the California Academy of Sciences with Jane Kim as she draws inspiration from their collection and talks about an early obsession with teddy bears that led her to a life of using art to give the natural world a stronger voice. She also explains how research and location play an important role in her projects and help encourage environmental stewardship.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Environmental Justice in Dallas

    Follow a Dallas community's fight to receive federal Superfund status to clean up the damage from a high-polluting lead smelter in this video segment adapted from Earthkeeping: "Toxic Racism." Hear from a reporter from the National Law Journal who explains some of the health effects of lead exposure and how after a cursory cleanup of a lead smelter site in West Dallas, the community was ignored, despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control about elevated blood lead levels. Meet Luis Sepulveda, a community member who organized the West Dallas Coalition for Environmental Justice, which eventually succeeded in having the site win Superfund status.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • The Environmental Movement and the First Earth Day

    Learn about the first Earth Day in this video from the American Masters film, A Fierce Green Fire. Interest in conservation increased during the 1960s as people became more aware of pollution, endangered species, and Earth’s unique characteristics. The first official Earth Day was held in April 1970 and included large demonstrations across the country in support of the environment.

    See the Support Materials for an activity using documents from the first Earth Day.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Environmental Justice: Opposing Industrial Hog Farming

    This video segment adapted from Earthkeeping: Toxic Racism looks at how pollution from an industrial hog farm impacts people who live near the farm. Learn about waste lagoons and other environmental hazards from animal feeding operations. Hear the story of how one hog farm has affected a community in North Carolina and how residents sued the farm for violations of the Clean Water Act. In addition, learn about how minority communities are unfairly affected by environmental issues.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Food Justice

    Urban high school students discuss problems in food systems and what can be done about them in this adaptation of a video they created in collaboration with the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island. They discuss lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables in urban areas; the high cost of healthy food compared to cheap and abundant junk food; the lack of food grown locally; and animal cruelty. The students offer solutions to these problems, such as urban gardening, buying local food at farmers markets, composting, recycling, and tree planting.

    Grades: 6-12