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RightsWatch: Climate Change



What do the rights to due process, health care, a clean environment, education, and living wage have in common? Over the next four years, we are likely to witness dramatic changes in how the US government sees and treats fundamental rights.  RightsWatch seeks to bring Duke scholars and activists in conversation about the rights debates that will shape the future.  These panels are designed to comment on a fast-moving political scene while at the same time engaging in civil – and deeply civic – conversation.

This panel will address the following questions:

  1. What’s your perspective on the actions of the new administration so far regarding climate politics both globally and domestically? 
  2. How do you see changes in the staffing of the EPA and cuts to the EPA budget affecting climate change politics in the US and abroad? 
  3. What role will grassroots activism play in addressing climate change?
  4. What role will the states and cities play in addressing climate change, especially in a state like NC that has been known for banning climate science? Do you see NC policy changing with the election of Roy Cooper?
  5. Scaling down to out community in Durham, what are the main challenges and actions we can take to address climate change and promote the use of science in policy-making? 
  6. In four years, what do you expect people will see or experience in their own lives due to climate change?




Drew Shindell is a Professor of Climate Sciences at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University. From 1995 to 2014 he was a scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City. His research concerns natural and human drivers of climate change, linkages between air quality and climate change, and the interface between climate change science and policy. He has been an author on more than 200 peer-reviewed publications and received awards from Scientific American, NASA, the EPA, and the NSF.





Dr. Erika Weinthal specializes in global environmental politics and environmental security with a particular emphasis on water and energy. Current areas of research include (1) global environmental politics and governance, (2) environmental conflict and peacebuilding, (3) the political economy of the resource curse, and (4) climate change adaptation. Dr. Weinthal is author of State Making and Environmental Cooperation: Linking Domestic Politics and International Politics in Central Asia (MIT Press 2002), which received the 2003 Chadwick Alger Prize and the 2003 Lynton Keith Caldwell Prize.




Megan Mullin is a scholar of American political institutions and behavior, focusing on how political and social processes contribute to environmental outcomes. She has a secondary appointment as Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science. Her main areas of research are in decentralized governance, water management, and climate change politics. Her work has appeared in NatureAmerican Journal of Political ScienceJournal of Politics, and Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, among other journals, and she is author of Governing the Tap: Special District Governance and the New Local Politics of Water (MIT Press, 2009), which won the Lynton Keith Caldwell Award for the best book in environmental politics and policy. Before coming to Duke, Mullin served on the faculty at Temple University. 



 Danielle Purifoy is a lawyer and a current Ph.D candidate in Environmental Politics and African American Studies at Duke University.  She completed a BA in English and Political Science from Vassar College and a JD from Harvard Law School. Her current research focuses on the intersection of racial segregationand local political place in the production of environmental inequality in North Carolina. She is an editor for Scalawag, a magazine devoted to Southern politics and culture, and a board member of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network.






March 21, 2017
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Smith Warehouse, Bay 4, Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall (C105)
114 S. Buchanan Blvd.
Durham, NC 27708 United States
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919 668 1911