Faculty-Led Environmental Film Project Wins Prestigious Award

April 16, 2020

GEJ graphicA team of Whittier College professors worked alongside college faculty from across the U.S. to create the Global Environmental Justice (GEJ) project.

The project, led by Associate Professor of Sociology Rebecca Overmyer-Velázquez and Associate Professor of Religious Studies Jason Carbine, was recently awarded the Franklin R. Buchanan Prize, which is annually given to a project that achieves excellence and innovation in curricular or instructional materials. It has also been declared a finalist in the U.K. Learning on Screen awards.

The GEJ project is a curated collection of 25 films that explore environmental issues, human rights, colonization, industrial development, and climate change, largely in Asia. The collection is now available at 50 colleges and universities. The collection also includes film synopses,key points, and teachers’ guides, which provide background and context on the environmental justice aspects of the films as well as related discussion topics and activities for students.

While Overmyer-Velázquez and Carbine took on leadership roles in the project–serving as on-campus grant director and lead author of study materials, respectively–the Whittier team also included Associate Professor of Chinese Kenneth R. Berthel, Associate Professor of Religious Studies Rosemary P. Carbine, Associate Professor of Environmental Science Cinzia Fissore, and Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Science David N. M. Mbora. 

“We are at a historical juncture where an increased need for simultaneously global and local humanistic awareness of environmental issues built from various fields of inquiry is more urgent than ever,” said Carbine and Overmyer-Velázquez. “We really are all in this together and the need to examine in depth the issues related to social, ecological, political, and environmental justice is pressing. The Global Environmental Justice documentary project provides significant educational resources to do precisely that.” 

The GEJ collection is available at 50 colleges and universities, and it continues to grow as additional films are added each year. 

The project was made possible by the support of educational filmmaker Gary Marcuse, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Global Reporting Centre, and Face to Face Media.