The Path to Big Impact: A Q&A with Inaugural Yale Center for Environmental Justice Executive Director Michel Gelobter

March 31, 2023

The modern environmental justice movement in the United States traces its roots back to the 1980s when protests over a toxic waste landfill in largely rural, Black, and low-income Warren County, North Carolina, garnered national media attention and served as the catalyst for research finding that race was often the single most important factor in predicting where toxic waste facilities were located in the U.S.  Michel Gelobter, the inaugural executive director of the Yale Center for Environmental Justice at YSE, who was involved in some of the early launches of environmental engagement by faith organizations in the Black Baptist and Jewish communities, and many others, can trace his own roots in environmental justice back to those early days.

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