"Kinship and Environmental Justice"

Season 3 • Episode 2

Apr. 25, 2022

How do kinship and knowledge sovereignty impact our lives, and what roles do they play in advancing the Just Energy Transition? We sat down with Kyle Whyte, 2022 Energy Fair keynote speaker, Professor of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan, and member of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, to find out.

As an Indigenous philosopher and movement builder, Kyle works to weave trust, consent, and reciprocity into the Just Energy Transition. Throughout the podcast, he talks with MREA’s Nick Hylla about Indigenous knowledge, what communities need to address environmental justice, and the importance of repairing relationships in order to solve the climate crisis.

In the second part of the podcast, Nick speaks with Hailey Johnson, MREA’s AmeriCorps Events Coordinator, about the volunteers who power The Energy Fair and how they support the Just Energy Transition at the Fair and beyond.

What exciting new attractions and forward-thinking speakers will be joining us in Custer, WI, this June, and how can you volunteer and get involved? Tune in below to find out, or watch the interview on YouTube.



Episode Transcript:

The Energy Fair:


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About Kyle Whyte

Kyle Whyte is the George Willis Pack Professor of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan. Kyle’s research addresses moral and political issues concerning climate policy and Indigenous peoples, the ethics of cooperative relationships between Indigenous peoples and science organizations, and problems of Indigenous justice in public and academic discussions of food sovereignty, environmental justice, and the Anthropocene. He is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. 

Kyle will be speaking at The Energy Fair on Saturday June 25th, 2022.

Much of what I’ve seen out there is related to two things. One, there still isn’t enough money for what many communities need to address environmental justice. But the other side of that is, even when there is funds and money, there’s not enough kinship to be able to make those investments count… a lot of people don’t understand that if you’re coming from a community that has experienced colonialism—that’s experienced racial capitalism, that’s experienced other forms of discrimination—one of the key goals is to just be in the position to be able to improve levels of trust, to improve levels of reciprocity.

-Kyle Whyte

From The Episode

The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David Wengrow

More about the Justice 40 Initiative

Time as Kinship by Kyle Whyte

Get Connected


The Energy Fair:
Volunteer Opportunities

As a volunteer…I love the feeling of contributing to the community. And I think that’s also why I really love serving MREA in AmeriCorps; because I feel like I’m serving my community.

-Hailey Johnson

For more information on how your organization can sponsor a future Rise Up podcast episode, view the details on the Rise Up Midwest supporter page, or contact Gina.


Address: 7558 Deer Rd. Custer, WI 54423
Phone: (715)-592-6595

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is a nonprofit organization with the mission to promote renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through education and demonstration.