Environmental Updates, Events, and Honoring Legacies 🌿

The Week of February 12, 2024

We believe in honoring a vision of Kentucky which proclaims the history that recognizes who we've been, that reflects us as we are, and that spotlights what we're becoming as a Commonwealth. This means surfacing the untold and highlighting voices which have long been left out of the mainstream. 
Kentucky has a rich and vibrant Black history. 
The University of Louisville's Envirome Institute has recently launched the Baldwin-King Project to, as scholar-in-residence Dr. Ricky L. Jones has noted, "build a coalition of the courageous to edify the curious." We hope to continue raising the voices of Kentucky's Black community, and below we've shared several learning platforms and events which prioritize and honor Kentucky's Black History.
For the curious and courageous, check out PBS LearningMedia's "Kentucky's Black History and Culture" collection. Follow it up with the Filson Historical Society's new African-American History Initiative. (A great feature on WDRB ran last week, in fact!) Dig even deeper with the Frazier Museum's self-guided walking and audio tour The Journey: Unsung Stories of the Underground Railroad. (Read more about it in a recent article from The Courier Journal.) Spectrum News also produced a short, but insightful video feature on Louisville's Civil Rights History. as shared by the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage.

We wish everyone a very Happy Black History Month this month and every month! Celebrate with us at upcoming occasions and stay tuned for more opportunities to get involved with the Baldwin-King Project.


Internationally Acclaimed Urban Forest Research
Puts Louisville and the U of L Envirome Institute on the Map

Green Heart Louisville—an initiative led by Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar at the University of Louisville's Envirome Institute—is featured in The Washington Post for its research on the impacts of mature trees on adult health and neighborhood well-being. These clinical trials have garnered international attention for being the first of their kind. Since 2018 Dr. Bhatnagar has worked with volunteers and contractors to plant over 8,000 trees in low-to-middle income areas in south Louisville while collecting health data from over 500 racially diverse area residents. Five years since its inception, there are now four universities, fifty researchers, multiple state and local agencies, as well as the U.S. Forest Service involved in the $15 million initiative. The project is testing many hypothesis including the impact of trees on arteries, sleep quality, stress levels, and blood pressure by collecting a battery of data ranging from blood, hair, and urine samples to soil, humidity, pollution, and wastewater runoff. Of Green Heart's many goals is to involve scientists in actively informing and advocating for policies and recommendations which can lend to creating healthier urban neighborhoods. We are so proud of work of Dr. Bhatnagar and the Envirome Institute for pursuing, indeed, a new vision of health. 

"[The] tours led me to tears. Inequalities on paper are one thing. Seeing the reality on the ground was overwhelming.The contrasts within the same city are devastating." Dr. Michael Emerson, Chavanne Fellow in Public Policy at the Baker Institute at Rice University and Contributor to the Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr. Center for Racial Justice at Simmons College of Kentucky

Dr. Michael Emerson, author of Market Cities and People Cities: The Shape of Our Urban Future, remarks on his recent "heartbreaking tour" of two Louisville neighborhoods in a recent piece for The Courier Journal. Emerson believes Louisville to be a market city, focusing on the business development aspects of the area, rather than prioritizing a people-forward approach. This "People City," is an important component of A New Vision of Health, it very much the key to a healthier, happier, more economically robust community. We loved his call-to-action: "Dream big, Louisville. Be the harbinger of what other U.S. cities might be, the example for all to see." You can read his Op-Ed here

New investigative analysis suggests Kentucky's Division of Water program (a branch of the state EPA) is authorizing off-permit projects allowing for companies to by-pass federal regulations mandated by the Clean Water Act. To date, no other state has been found to greenlight millions of gallons of pollutant discharge into area water as the Commonwealth has— a number which totals over 270 circumventions in six years according to public records. For more from the Environmental Integrity Project and the Kentucky Resources Council, The Courier Journal reports


Meanwhile, if you're interested in receiving resources and training to advocate for a new vision of health across Commonwealth, we encourage you to check out KEAP (Kentucky Environmental Accountability Project), an initiative of the Kentucky Resources Council. KEAP seeks to advance environmental quality, health, and justice from Paducah to Pikeville by combining "meaningful citizen participation, science-backed information, and technical and legal expertise to ensure that Kentucky’s environmental decisions protect public health and the environment." More information can be found here

It is with great sadness we share the passing of Dr. Gordon Tobin. A lifelong healthcare advocate, surgeon, and professor at the University of Louisville, Dr. Gordon put into practice the principles of a New Vision of Health. Serving as a past-president of the Kentucky Medical Association, he maintained a committed passion for advancing diversity and equity in health systems. Dr. Gordon also led many medical missions to developing countries and most recently had worked on gun violence reduction initiatives in addition to serving on the board of the Center for Interfaith Relations. His legacy will remain a true blessing to us all. A celebration of Gordon’s life will be held tomorrow, February 17th, 10-11:30am, at the Grawemeyer Hall, University of Louisville, 2301 S. 3rd St. Louisville, Kentucky 40292. 

We love hearing from you and as always, we're inviting your feedback, comments, and ideas for our monthly editions of The Notebook! Send us your thoughts and comments on the latest edition by sharing your ideas in the Comment Box below each edition. Simply click through to the website, explore the latest content, and then share your feedback in the text box at the end of the webpage. We also welcome you to submit any ideas, events, or articles you may have for future issues of The Notebook. You help make these newsletters community powered  
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