Jessica Chaplain , University of Utah
Growing up in the Appalachian Mountains, I have always had an appreciation for the environment around me. Receiving my BA in English and BS in Communication Studies from Appalachian State, with its heavy focus on sustainability, only solidified for me the importance of transforming society’s relationship to the natural world. While working to get my MA in Communication Studies at the University of Georgia, I became passionate about addressing climate injustices through examining the way rhetoric shapes the possibilities and limitations for climate action. Currently, I am a PhD student in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Utah. My work examines climate justice discourses within the United Nations Climate Change Conferences, specifically looking at the way climate justice activists conceptualize climate change and how those conceptions can impede or enable climate justice solutions. Under the guidance of Dr. Danielle Endres, I will continue to examine the way time, space, and affect shape how we understand and make sense of climate change and climate injustices, specifically within international discourse. At this moment, the climate justice fellows and I are working on drafting a document outlining climate justice principles, solutions, false solutions and principles of climate injustice, as well as strategies for community engagement. Our goal is to offer this guide as a resource for the climate planners in order to make clear how the University of Utah can pursue climate justice in their commitments. We have also drafted a survey that could be used by the planners to solicit community feedback on what climate justice concerns they have and what they would like to see from the University’s climate plan.