Recognized for his academic excellence, Kyle Whyte (above, center), the Timnick Chair in the Humanities in the Department of Philosophy, received the 2015 Bunyan Bryant Award.
The award ceremony highlighted Whyte’s collaborative work with individuals and organizations across Michigan as they work to address the impacts of global warming on the continued existence of cultures, societies, and ways of life
“I actually looked to Bunyan Bryant early on as a scholar working in the Great Lakes region who set a model of scholarship, engagement, and organizing that I have tried to emulate in my own career,” Whyte said. “Professor Bryant provides a powerful example to so many scholars who are starting out, including many in my generation and beyond.”
Whyte received the award in Detroit as part of the Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ) 20th anniversary celebration at the Adventure Center on the Detroit riverfront. The DWEJ program stated: “An articulate leader, Dr. Whyte advocates with passionate vision and philosophical precision in an often challenging dialogue.”
“There was much passion in the room as DWEJ convened an incredible group of justice advocates to honor the organization’s 20th anniversary,” Whyte said. “It was energizing to hear about how DWEJ’s future plans involve continuing to expand its capacity to ensure that all people live in clean and healthy environments. DWEJ has been a dedicated partner in the formation of the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition.”
Whyte successfully bridges the academic world and the life of the community through the lens of climate justice and environmental justice.
An enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, originally occupying the Great Lakes region, his primary research addresses moral and political issues concerning climate policy and indigenous peoples, and the ethics of cooperative relationships between indigenous peoples and climate science organizations. Regarding climate change and indigenous peoples, he is involved in the work of the Sustainable Development Institute of the College of Menominee Nation, the Climate and Traditional Knowledges Workgroup, U.S. Department of Interior’s Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science, and numerous federal climate science programs.
Whyte has published in a wide range of humanities and science journals from Hypatia to Climate Change. His work has been supported by funders such as the National Science Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Climate Science Center, Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center, and Sustainable Michigan Endowed Program.