Path to Zero
Path to Zero
5.16 - The Father of Environmental Justice, Dr. Robert D. Bullard, on the Progress and Challenges of the Movement

Path to Zero kicks off a series of interviews recorded from Reuters Energy Transition North American in Houston with a special episode focused on environmental justice. Who better to provide perspective on the progress of the environmental justice movement than Robert D. Bullard, Ph.D., who is often called “the father of environmental justice.”

Bullard is the author of eighteen books that address environmental racism, urban land use, housing, transportation, sustainability, smart growth, climate justice, and community resilience. He is founding director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice and distinguished professor of urban planning and environmental policy at Texas Southern University.

Among the topics Tucker discusses with Dr. Bullard in this episode:

  • The birth of the environmental movement in Houston in 1979 over a lawsuit to challenge plans for a landfill in the middle of an African American community. It was the first lawsuit filed in the United States to challenge environmental discrimination.
  • How the environmental justice movement brought to the forefront that poor people and people of color who have contributed the least to the environmental crisis, feel the pain first, worst and longest.
  • Bullard’s perspective on the progress that has been made on environmental racism over the past 40 years.
  • The impact of the Inflation Reduction Act which has $60 billion dedicated to address environmental justice.
  • Dr. Bullard’s view on how to equitably decide where to put a new power plants and other industrial sites.
  • The importance of the Biden administration’s Justice40 Initiative, an effort to deliver at least 40 percent of the overall benefits from certain federal investments in clean energy go to disadvantaged communities.
  • The need to accelerate the conversation on climate adaptation.

The Robert D. Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University was launched to address longstanding issues of systemic inequality and structural racism that cause disproportionate pain, suffering and death in Black and other people of color communities.