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Session B6

7th Annual CNM Conference on Teaching and Learning

Environmental Privilege Walk: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

Stephen Ryan Griego (Communication, CHSS, CNM)

Sierra II, 12:30-1:45

The in-class Environmental Privilege Walk activity helps bring course units that focus on issues inequality to life. This exercise, inspired by Peggy McIntosh's (1989) "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack," helps learners locate themselves within a spectrum of environmental privilege, centering the roles of socioeconomic class, race, gender, sexuality, colonialism, and global disparities in environmental experience. The activity provides a foundation for understanding environmental injustice from the inside out, providing participants with a way to visualize privilege in their everyday environmental experience. As students take steps forward, privilege that formerly may have been invisible is made evident in an unthreatening yet embodied way. Students have the opportunity to consider what this means in daily life for them, for others, and for the whole planet. Those who have experienced environmental marginalization or injustice are able to reveal discrepancies and often find their experience feels more legitimated and their voices heard.

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