Working Toward a Just and Livable Future
The University of Oregon’s Environment Initiative represents a campus-wide coordinated effort to create an intellectual and active hub focused on higher education’s role and contribution to a just and livable future. The Environment Initiative aims to leverage the intellectual energy and endeavors of faculty, students, and community partners towards societal contribution through transdisciplinary research, teaching, and experiential learning.
An Environment Initiative Faculty Advisory Committee has been appointed by the Provost to advise on institutional perspectives for strategic growth of the initiative.
As a community of scholars and researchers, we are determined to answer:
- How will our environmental research define and contribute to a livable and just future?
- How can we best equip communities, their leaders, and more significant components of civil society, to carry forth the insights produced?
- And, what must our students understand to live in this emerging world, and forge a better one?
We will work to bring these conversations together and to amplify the voices of those who have gone unheard.
The Environment Initiative is the place for promoting and answering questions on how to conserve, preserve, and sustain our environment. Let’s build an action plan together. Work with us.
Environment Initiative Guiding Principles
With the urgency created by the impacts of climate change and a fundamental commitment to environmental justice, we strive to be:
- Transdisciplinary and innovative in building integrated opportunities for teaching, research, and community engagement centered around climate solutions, environment, and sustainability-related topics;
- Policy-relevant, data-driven, and evidence-based by doing applied work that translates to decision-makers in government, industry, and communities;
- Rooted and focused on issues of equity and environmental justice in which we add and amplify voices in the conversation, including work directly with or within diverse communities, including Indigenous, Black, Latinx, LGBTQ+, and other communities;
- Responsive to the needs of local communities, tribal nations, the state, the eco-region, and beyond; and/or
- Tied to direct student outcomes, experiential learning offerings, and new ways of thinking about professional pathways for a changing world.
Environment Initiative Research Themes
As our work has developed, we have identified research themes that are staged in multiple waves of development:
- Hazards Resilience
- Energy and Decarbonization
- Ecology, Systems, and the Designed Environment
- Natural Climate Solutions, Restoration, and Biodiversity
- Indigenous Ecological Knowledge and Sovereignty
- Water Futures, Lifeways, and Sustainable Systems
- Social Change through Environmental Education and Communication
In the context of the rapidly changing landscapes of climate and justice, ongoing engagement will reveal additional strategic areas of strength that should remain in development. Possible strengths that may emerge as future waves include Health Equity and Climate; Food Studies; and Climate Data and Cyberinfrastructure, among others. UO's institutional success through the EI will allow us to continue to nurture and advance in important areas of research, teaching, and engagement.
Over the past year, Environment Initiative director Adell Amos and her team have conducted a broad campus engagement process. That engagement continues as the UO is poised to launch the next phase of the initiative and our university works to build and realize a just and livable future.