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LEED Architect to Speak on Hurricane Maria and Environmental Injustice

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — As Puerto Rico continues to reel in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, LEED-certified architect and sustainability consultant Brenda L. Martínez Quiñones will present her perspective on the lessons and warnings that this tragedy brings in the face of climate change.

Her talk “Puerto Rico After Maria: Tales from one of the canaries in the coal mine” will take place on Thursday, March 22 at 4 p.m. at Beckman Auditorium in The Ames Library (1 Ames Pl E, Bloomington). The event is free and open to the public.

As a Puerto Rican, Quiñones possesses personal insight into how this natural disaster has impacted Puerto Rican residents, but moreover, how misguided public policies and mismanagement of resources have exacerbated the catastrophe. Her talk will address environmental injustice, a social phenomenon by which impoverished and marginalized communities shoulder the adverse effects of environmental hazards more than privileged groups, and what must be done to combat it for the good of a nation as a whole.

Quiñones is an architect certified by the Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a globally-recognized program by the U.S. Green Building Council dedicated to creating highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. She works with local design and construction industries across the nation in order to find ways to build more sustainable, eco-friendly buildings on a local level.

In addition, Quiñones is currently pursuing doctoral work in environmental science at the University of Puerto Rico, and is a fellow in the university’s Integrative Graduate Education Research Traineeship (IGERT) program. Led by the National Science Foundation, IGERT provides United States Ph.D. scientists and engineers with the well-rounded interdisciplinary training needed to solve complex problems facing the United States and the world at large, with climate change – as Hurricane Maria demonstrates – currently at the top of that list. 

This event is sponsored by the IWU Environmental Studies Program, Hispanic Studies Department and Office of Diversity and Inclusion, as part of the university’s Diversity, Dialogue and Dignity (3D) Series.

By Rachel McCarthy ’21