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Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, GreenState Podcast


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Social Studies, Civics, History, Justice

Resource Type

  • Podcast, 44 minutes, 3 seconds

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, USA - South, Oregon, Central Oregon / Columbia Gorge, Willamette Valley / Portland Metro

Environmental Justice

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  • This podcast discusses the history of racism in Oregon and within the conservation movement, the complex relationship between conservation and Indigenous peoples, and the origins of the environmental justice movement. 
  • Students will learn about the American conservation movement's early stages, the removal of Indigenous people from ancestral lands under the guise of conservation, and the court case that kick-started the environmental justice movement.
Teaching Tips


  • This podcast allows students to examine the American conservation movement's moral complexity.
  • Students are positioned to think about environmental issues in a more holistic manner.

Additional Prerequisites

  • 27 minutes in, the podcast focuses specifically on Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality and their work in DEI.
  • Students should be somewhat familiar with the American conservation movement of the early 20th century.


  • A section of this podcast could supplement a lesson on the American conservation movement and/or the Progressive Era. 
  • Parts of this podcast could supplement a lesson on the unfair housing practices that African Americans dealt with during the Jim Crow Era.
  • Coupling this podcast with open-ended discussion questions would aid students' understanding of the material.
  • For ELLs, discussion questions could be a mix of open-ended and multiple choice.
  • A classroom discussion on the more opinion-based questions could help clarify some misunderstandings, develop critical thinking skills, and challenge students to consider the merits of differing opinions.
Scientist Notes
This podcast from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) features a thoughtful conversation on environmental justice in the state of Oregon. The panel starts with the history of racism in Oregon, citing the large historic Ku Klux Klan presence and racist exclusion laws, before turning more specifically to the history of racism in the conservation movement. With this background set, the discussion focuses first on the history of environmental justice and then the specific work at DEQ towards environmental justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion. This podcast thoroughly covers a range of topics including the profit motive of many historic conservation plans, which often pushed Indigenous peoples out of their ancestral lands to preserve some natural resource for the enjoyment of tourists. This resource features a diverse, informed panel engaged in a thoughtful discussion of how DEQ can protect the environment and the interests of all Oregon residents. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.13.9-12 Evaluate public policies in terms of intended and unintended outcomes, and related consequences.
    • Dimension 2: History
      • D2.His.5.9-12 Analyze how historical contexts shaped and continue to shape people's perspectives.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
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