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Community Reads: Fall 2020 | Climate Justice

A guide to the Community Reads program at UWB/CC Campus Library

Hello Campus Community -

Community Reads will be offering our fall programming online, with options for asynchronous discussion. This academic year we will be exploring Environmental Justice and delving deeper into sub-themes surrounding this topic. Fall Quarter's materials will focus on issues intimately connected to climate change and climate justice: rising waters and coral reef destruction, environmental racism, and Indigenous activism.

The materials that we invite you to engage with will consist of a selection of three short "texts" in the form of something to read, to watch, and to listen. We will call this trio format, "Read, Watch, & Listen." Additionally, we will reflect together on pieces of art as environmental activism. We hope the variety of mediums along with the brevity can allow for multiple points of engagement and pique your mind's curiosity into themes presented.

We look forward to your participation this quarter in whatever capacity you can manage. In the meantime, we're thinking about you all and hoping you're staying healthy and safe.

- The Community Reads Team, 2020-21

Further Reflections

Related Online Events

Indigenous People's Day Speaker Event, Tuesday, October 13, 1:00 - 2:30pm, hosted by Cascadia's The Center for Culture, Inclusion, and Community. Patricia Allen, an Indigenous activist/community organizer from Seattle, will discuss COVID-19 and Native communities, Urban Native identities and homelessness, decolonizing autonomy and community organizing, and potlatch knowledge in modern economics and politics. Zoom info coming soon.

Climate Dialog 2020 - Climate Justice
Wednesday, October 21st, 2020, 1:30-3:30pm
Registration Required: Zoom link provided after registration.
An opportunity to engage in dialogue with experts about living in an age of climate consequences.

Community Reads Team Contacts | 2020-21

Contact members of the team via email with questions, comments, or concerns:

Read | Short Story

"Drones Above the Coral Sand" (fiction short story), by Claire G. Coleman, 2040 A.D. (McSweeney's Issue 58) - Climate Fiction Edition

Story Artwork by Wesley Allsbrook


Visit our Fall 2020 Canvas Course to participate in discussions and activities.

Fall Discussion Boards Now Closed



About the Story & Author

Drones Above the Coral Sand

The year is 2040 A.D. in Far North Queensland, Australia. Rising temperatures and rising water levels have all but killed the Great Barrier Reef - and other vital ecosystems throughout the world - and now the government and corporate interests work together to suppress dissent in nonwhite communities while white people make plans to flee to protected communities. Against the backdrop of this devastation, the narrator of the story works undercover with an organization of activists to expose the ongoing and deliberate environmental destruction.

Coleman, C.G. (2019). Drones Above the Coral Sand. McSweeney's, issuing body (Ed.) 2040 A.D. (McSweeney's (Series); 58). (pp. 34-47). San Francisco, California: McSweeney's Publishing.

About the Author

Born in Western Australia, Indigenous author Claire G. Coleman was raised in a Forestry’s settlement outside of Perth and identifies with the South Coast Noongar people, as well as having family ties to the Hopetoun and Ravensthorpe areas. Coleman rose to prominence after winning the Queensland State Library’s prestigious black&write! Fellowship for the bold and unique manuscript that would eventually become Coleman's debut novel, Terra Nullius.  (from this website)

Watch | Video Poetry

Two Indigenous poets - one from the Marshall Islands and another from Greenland - meet at the source of our rising seas to share a moment of solidarity.

Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner is a poet of Marshallese ancestry . . . Her writing and performances have been featured by CNN, Democracy Now, Huffington Post, and more. . . . Kathy also co-founded the non-profit Jo-Jikum, dedicated to empowering Marshallese youth to seek solutions to climate change and other environmental impacts threatening their home island.

Aka Niviâna is a Inuk writer and this is her on-screen debut. Aka started doing poetry with a wish to create nuanced conversations about not only climate change, but also colonialism and indigenous peoples rights. She believes in the importance of representation and the inclusion of black, brown and indigenous peoples.

(descriptions from

Listen | Radio Broadcast

Host Maddie Sofia talks with marine biologist, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, about how the fight against climate change could be stronger if people of color weren't being constantly exhausted by racism.

Radio Broadcast Transcript

Read the Washington Post op-ed by Johnson, that the interview is inspired by: I'm A Black Climate Expert. Racism Derails Our Efforts To Save The Planet

Image: People march through San Francisco's Financial District during a climate protest on Sept. 20. (Eric Risberg/AP)

View (Act) | Underwater Sculpture

Underwater Sculpture as Artificial Reefs & Museum  |  Jason deCaires Taylor 

~~   ocean ecology restoration and activism   ~~

"Inheritance," Mexico

This quarter we will reflect on and then provide space to express our reactions (creatively or otherwise) to this sculpture photographed below entitled, "Inheritance," and what it speaks to.

underwater sculpture boy sitting looking at trash on ground

Jason deCaires Taylor is a British sculptor and environmentalist who created the world's first underwater sculpture park, Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park in 2006. The park is a collection of ecological underwater contemporary art located in the Caribbean sea off the west coast of Grenada, West Indies. By predominately using local models for the life casts he aims to empower local coastal communities and provide an important icon of residents standing in defense of their seas. Many of the sculptures are aimed at opening up debates about our relationship to ours seas, the Anthropocene and highlighting our inherent apathy or denial.

"Taylor’s artworks are essentially artificial reefs, formed of carefully manufactured sculptures installed at various locations around the world. Each sculpture is created using non-toxic, pH neutral marine grade cement, free from harmful pollutants, becoming an integral part of the local ecosystem. The cement is highly durable, with a rough texture that encourages coral larvae to attach and thrive, while nooks and dark cubbyholes formed of folds of clothing provide homes for fish and crustaceans." (Jason deCaires Taylor - Overview)

Visit the artist's website to learn more.


Images:  "Inheritance," Mexico, Jason deCaires Taylor

Discussions & Activities

This quarter's discussions and reflection activities will take place online, in a Canvas course designed to facilitate engagement with one another and the material. We are hoping that instructors and supervisors can incorporate this course, or portions of this course, into their classes and programs.

The course includes:

  • Introductory material
  • Thematic modules
  • An opportunity for students, staff, and faculty to contribute to our Community Reads Zine
  • Resources and discussion space related to COVID-19’s impact on marginalized communities.  

For Faculty and Staff

There are a variety of ways you may be able to integrate these Canvas materials into your own work. 

Ideas include:

  • Invite students to participate in the entire course or specific modules for extra credit.
  • Import specific modules of the course into your own courses.
  • Assign the Zine activity as an assignment in your course.
  • Invite the staff or student employees you supervise to engage with the resources of the course and participate in activities and discussion spaces.

Visit our For Faculty page for more ideas and information.

If you have another idea for how to use this material, or have questions on how to implement any of the ideas above, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.  


The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, and activities. Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made 10 business days prior to the event to the Community Reads Team. Or, email contact of all members are on the left hand menu of this website.