Rutgers Climate Institute


Rutgers Students and Local Communities Come Together to Address Climate and
Environmental Justice in an International Traveling Exhibition and Story Exchange Project
Exploring the History and Future of Climate and Environmental Justice

Over the course of 2 years, New Brunswick joined communities across the hemisphere to explore the deep historical roots of climate inequality and environmental injustice in their localities, share personal experiences, and develop strategies for change.  Through virtual reality, moving audio testimony, and historical imagery from each community, the exhibition explores how the climate crisis and environmental injustice is intensifying inequality—and how the experiences of the hardest-hit communities hold the key to confronting these issues and finding ways to move forward. These stories of environmental racism, resistance, and resilience  also provide critical insight on how “front-line” communities are experiencing, and responding creatively to, the COVID-19 pandemic.  

For its hosting in New Brunswick, NJ the exhibition includes “Climate Justice is Worker Justice,” a special focus on the relationship between climate change and worker safety, developed by Rutgers students in collaboration with New Labor, an organization that supports, educates, and organizes workers while fighting to improve conditions of workplace health and safety, and participating in activities that create hyperlocal solidarity between the environmental and worker justice movements.

Want to learn more?

  • View the digital Climates of Inequality exhibit yourself at:
  • View a companion exhibition titled “Labor Sweated Here: Histories of Workers and Environments in New Jersey,” at the Zimmerli Art Museum during the Fall 2021 semester, in the Study Gallery
  • Attend a virtual roundtable discussion on the project, "Climate Justice is Worker Justice," featuring New Labor members and Rutgers scholars, September 23, 6:30pm, via Zoom (register here; poster here
  • Attend an in-person, outdoor (masked, socially distanced) New Labor-led walking tour of New Brunswick's "temp agency row", exploring how climate change and other environmental and public health concerns affect worker safety, September 24, 3pm (register here; poster here)
  • Attend a virtual screening of an environmental justice documentary about New Jersey's indigenous people, "The Meaning of the Seed," with a dialogue facilitated by Raíces Cultural Center, October 6, 6pm (register here; poster here)
  • Schedule a virtual tour and/or talk about the exhibit which are available for courses and groups. Please email Dr. Kristin O'Brassill-Kulfan (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to arrange for one of these tours led by Rutgers Public History Interns.

Climates of Inequality was designed by design firm MTWTF, led by creative directors Glen Cummings and Sarah Dunham, which has a strong background in built environments and working at the intersection of art, communities, and environments.  The exhibition incorporates a short documentary about the creative process behind Climates of Inequality produced by Talking Eyes Media, a New Jersey-based media firm specializing in visual storytelling for social justice. Climates of Inequality is a project of the Humanities Action Lab, a collaboration between Rutgers University New Brunswick and 21 others, led by Rutgers University-Newark, working with community organizations and public spaces to foster new public dialogue on contested social issues, through public humanities projects that explore the diverse local histories and current realities of shared global concerns.  Partner communities are: Amherst, MA; Bogota, Colombia; Chicago, IL; Durham, NC; Greensboro, NC; Indianapolis, IN; Mayaguez, PR; Mexico City, Mexico; Miami, FL; Milwaukee, WI; New Brunswick, NJ; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Newark, NJ; Northridge, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Providence, RI; Riverside, CA; Saratoga Springs, NY; Tempe, AZ; Twin Cities, MN; Nassau, The Bahamas.   
This project was made possible in part by Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Rutgers University-Newark School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University New Brunswick School of Arts and Sciences