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Book Talks @ WRI Engage | Climate Change From the Streets: Poor Communities and Environmental Justice

WRI India is delighted to launch a new series of virtual Book Talks that engage with timely and relevant new books, and discuss their implications for policy and action.

Please join us for a discussion with Prof Michael Mendez, author of Climate Change from the Streets: How Conflict and Collaboration Strengthen the Environmental Justice Movement and Ulka Kelkar, Director, Climate, WRI India.

In this book, Dr Méndez tells a timely story of people, place, and power in the context of climate change and inequality. He explores the perspectives and influence low-income people of color bring to advocacy work on climate change. In California, activist groups have galvanized behind issues such as air pollution, poverty alleviation, and green jobs to advance equitable climate solutions at the local, state, and global levels. Arguing that environmental protection and improving public health are inextricably linked, Mendez contends that we must incorporate local knowledge, culture, and history into policymaking to fully address the global complexities of climate change and the real threats facing our local communities.

Dr Mendez and Ulka Kelkar will explore the following questions in their conversation:

  • How can poor and marginalized communities participate in climate policymaking?
  • What public health and community benefits can climate action create?
  • Can global carbon market mechanisms serve equity and justice concerns?

  • Tuesday, 15 September, 2020
  • 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM IST
  • 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM EST


  • Michael Méndez is assistant professor of environmental planning and policy at the University of California, Irvine. He previously served in California as a senior consultant, lobbyist, and gubernatorial appointee during the passage of the state’s internationally acclaimed climate change legislation.
  • Ulka Kelkar is Director, Climate Program, WRI India. She is an economist with two decades of experience in climate change research, capacity building and outreach. She leads WRI India’s work on climate policy which aims to support India’s pathway to a climate-resilient low-carbon economy.
  • Shahana Chattaraj, Director, Research Data and Innovation, WRI India will moderate the session.

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