A public talk with civil rights attorney Cesar De La Vega* and health researcher Ming Kuo, joined in conversation with Maine-based leaders about why the connection of health, environment and equity matters.
Our keynote speakers will be joined by Maine leaders: Eric Brown, Jamie Bissonette Lewey and Ryder Scott, for a discussion that explores the health implications of time spent in nature, existing obstacles and disparities in access, differences between urban and rural regions of Maine, and possible paths forward to improve individual and community well-being.
Cesar De La Vega is the Juanita Tate Social Justice Fellow at The City Project in Los Angeles, California. The City Project works with diverse allies on equal access to (1) healthy green land use through community planning; (2) climate justice; (3) quality education including physical education; (4) health equity; and (5) economic vitality for all. Robert has extensive experience in public policy, legal advocacy, mediation, and litigation involving complex social justice, civil rights, human health, environmental, education, and criminal justice matters.
Dr. Ming Kuo is a nationally and internationally recognized scientist examining the impacts of the urban forest on human health. In the U.S., her work has appeared on CNN, NPR’s Fresh Air, The Today Show, and Good Morning, America, as well as the Washington Post, Boston Globe, New York Times, LA Times, and other magazines and newspapers. Dr. Kuo's research focuses on how “green space” supports healthy human functioning, in both individuals and communities. Starting in 1993, she led a series of studies on the impacts of green spaces on human functioning in inner city Chicago. Her work has convincingly linked healthy urban ecosystems to stronger, safer neighborhoods, lower crime, reduced AD/HD symptoms, reduced aggression, and an array of other mental health indicators. Her current work examines the effects of contact with nature on physical health, especially immune function. Dr. Kuo directs the Landscape and Human Health Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
* Due to health concerns our original speaker, Robert Garcia, is unable to join us. We are sorry to miss him and wish him a speedy recovery and are pleased to have his colleague and leader in social justice, public interest law and civil rights advocacy, Cesar De La Vega in his stead.