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Amplifying Marginalised Community Voices: An Ecocultural Approach to Beach Accessibility Justice in California

20 June 2024
12.00pm – 1.00pm AEST
Morven Brown Building (C20) Lvl 2 Room 209
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Image of Santa Monica beach

This hybrid presentation shares the findings of the Beach Sustainability Assessment Project (BSA-CAMP), an interdisciplinary research project focused on economic and environmental justice issues related to access to California beaches.

Sea level rise threatens iconic beaches with estimates of 100 beach access points disappearing by 2100—losses whose impacts will not be distributed evenly among California’s diverse population. This project incorporates projected changes in beach size and availability to address the economic and environmental justice issues related to access in prevision to the foreseeable effects of climate change.

The presenter will focus on the BSA’s environmental justice component and elaborate on the usefulness of the ecocultural framework in designing communicative spaces shaped by expanded notions of interculturality and community. Sustaining beaches and equitable access requires coordinated efforts by stakeholders combined with knowledge of beach resilience and how beach management affects access, use, environmental justice, and economic value.

The presenter looks forward to discussing issues regarding digital gentrification, intergenerational trauma, representation and sense of belonging, and beach governance with the audience. These key themes emerged from the bilingual focus groups conducted with Spanish-speaking, underserved communities in Southern California. 

This is a hybrid event. You can join this presentation in person at UNSW Kensington, or via teams, here.

Dr. José Castro-Sotomayor

Dr. José Castro-Sotomayor

Assistant Professor of Environmental Communication at California State University Channel Islands

Dr. José Castro-Sotomayor is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Communication at California State University Channel Islands. He is a research practitioner interested in environmental and intercultural dynamics of policy development and community outreach. He facilitates community-based decision and policy making processes through the design and implementation of identity-based participatory communication models for community building and conflict resolution. He has taught in Ecuador, Colombia, and the United States. He conceives learning as an organic form of cultural and ecological awareness that grows up from students’ everyday experiences with both the human and more-than-human worlds. Originally from Ecuador, he is a native Spanish speaker and fluent in English and has published English-Spanish translations of academic books in economy and political science subjects.

His research has been recognized with the Christine L. Oravec Journal Article Award 2020. Environmental Communication Division, National Communication Association (NCA). Among his publications, he co-edited the Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identity (2020), which received the Tarla Rai Peterson Book Award 2020. Environmental Communication Division (NCA). This transdisciplinary volume seeks to foster a radical epistemology focused on ways ecocultural identities are being, and can be, thought, felt, performed, and experienced within wider sociopolitical structures in ways relevant to regenerative Earth futures.

Currently, he is a Community-Based Research Faculty Fellows at CSU Channel Islands, Associate Editor of the Journal Frontiers in Communication, and member of the Editorial Board of Quarterly Journal of Speech.