Carl Anthony — Architect and Climate Justice Advocate

Presented with the consent and cooperation of Carl Anthony, for which we are deeply grateful. Last update: 3/26/2024

AboutBooks, Chapters and ArticlesVideo & Audio Recordings

Carl C. Anthony is revered as a social and environmental justice leader. He was the founding director of Urban Habitat, one of the country’s first environmental justice organizations, known for pushing the mainstream environmental movement to confront issues of race and class. With colleague Luke Cole from the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, he edited and published the Race, Poverty and the Environment Journal, the first environmental justice periodical in the United States.

After leaving Urban Habitat to concentrate on writing a book, he was recruited to lead the Ford Foundation’s Sustainable Metropolitan Communities Initiative. During his years at Ford, he became aware of potential pathways to economic and social equity for marginalized communities by treating the city, suburbs, and surrounding rural areas as an interdependent holistic system—the metropolitan region. Carl initiated the national Conversation on Regional Equity (CORE), a dialogue of national policy analysts and advocates for new metropolitan racial justice strategies.

Leaving Ford and returning to the West Coast, Carl teamed up with Dr. Paloma Pavel to create the Breakthrough Communities Project, dedicated to empowering grassroots communities in metropolitan regions and nurturing multiracial leadership. Carl and Paloma are producing a series of workshops on Climate Justice with  low income communities of color in Sacramento, San Diego, and Sonoma, as they develop a toolkit for Building Healthy and Just Communities for All in California in an Age of Global Warming. Carl has taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture and Planning and the UC Berkeley Colleges of Environmental Design and Natural Resources. In 1996, he was appointed Fellow at the Institute of Politics, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He and his Breakthrough Communities colleague, Paloma Pavel, currently serve as visiting faculty at UC Davis’s Center for Regional Change.

About THE EARTH, THE CITY, AND THE HIDDEN NARRATIVE OF RACE  This long-awaited book by Carl C. Anthony offers a new story about race and place intended to bridge long-standing racial divides. The long-ignored history of African-American contributions to American infrastructure and the modern economic system is placed in the larger context of the birth of the universe and the evolution of humanity in Africa.

The author interweaves personal experiences as an architect/planner, environmentalist, and black American with urban history, racial justice, cosmology, and the challenge of healing the environmental and social damage that threatens our collective future. Thoughtful writing about race, urban planning, and environmental and social equity is sparked by stories of life as an African American child in post–World War II Philadelphia, a student and civil rights activist in 1960s Harlem, a traveling student of West African architecture and culture, and a pioneering environmental justice advocate in Berkeley and New York.

The book will appeal to people troubled by racism and searching for solutions, including individuals exploring their identity and activists eager to democratize power and advance equitable policies in historically marginalized communities. This is a rich, insightful encounter with an American urbanist with a uniquely expansive perspective on human origins, who sets forth what he calls an “inclusive vision for a shared planetary future.”

The proposed subtitle of the book – too long to fit on the cover – is Discovering New Foundations for the Great Work of Our Time. The cover image, Bottoms Up, is a photomontage by popular artist, community activist, and entrepreneur Keba Armond Konte. The photo was taken at a community celebration during the painting of a mural in the Bottoms neighborhood of West Oakland. The book and an accompanying Learning Action Guide are intended to inspire and empower grassroots community groups to organize and act to dismantle racism and protect and restore a healthy environment for all.

Link to New Village Press for more info and to buy the book. An E-book version in EPUB format is available for 19.99. You can also request a MOBI format for viewing on Kindle  instead. There are several ways to preview the book. In addition to the the  table of contents, excerpt, and chapter-by-chapter summaries, along with the endorsements on the Praises page, there is also a very descriptive review of the book by Martin Nicolaus, which appears on the Amazon book page, on the reviewer’s web site, and on

Books, Book Chapters, and Articles by and/or about Carl C. Anthony

BOOK: The Earth, the City, and the Hidden Narrative of Race  This long-awaited book by Carl C. Anthony offers a new story about race and place intended to bridge long-standing racial divides. The long-ignored history of African-American contributions to American infrastructure and the modern economic system is placed in the larger context of the birth of the universe and the evolution of humanity in Africa.

FOREWORD: Breakthrough Communities: Sustainability and Justice in the Next American Metropolis

ARTICLE: Building Just and Resilient Communities: New Foundations for Ecopsychology (with M. Paloma Pavel, 2015)

ARTICLE: A Call to Action: Regional Approaches to Creating Economic Opportunities for Bay Area Marginalized and Safety Net Communities (with M. Paloma Pavel and Chris Schildt, 2012)

INTERVIEW:   Carl Anthony: Earth Day and EJ  from  Race, Poverty & the Environment, Spring 2010 Issue

INTERVIEW: Ecopsychology and the Deconstruction of Whiteness. Carl Anthony interviewed by Theodore Roszak.  From: Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth / Healing the Mind (Sierra Club Books, 1995)

ARTICLE: Why Blacks Should Become Environmentalists.  From: Call to Action: Handbook for Ecology, Peace and Justice (Sierra Club Books, 1990)

ARTICLE: The Big House and the Slave Quarters — Two Articles by Carl Anthony Landscape  —  Spring 1976 (20-page, high-resolution photocopy, 70mb)

Video & Audio Recordings of/by/about Carl C. Anthony

The Universe Story, Race, and Justice, with Carl Anthony

March 22, 2021 — Sam Mickey — Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology

This week’s episode of Spotlights features Carl Anthony, an architect, regional planner, and social and environmental justice activist. He discusses some of the many facets of his work, including  a project of which he is the co-founder and co-director (with Dr. Paloma Pavel), Breakthrough Communities, dedicated to building multiracial leadership for sustainable communities in California & the nation. He also discusses his book, The Earth, the City, and the Hidden Narrative of Race, which is a memoir that integrates urban history, racial justice, and cosmology with personal experiences as an architect/planner, environmentalist, and Black American, connecting the struggles for social and racial justice to the universe story. Along with Paloma Pavel, Carl Anthony is the 2021 recipient of the Thomas Berry Award.


Here’s a word from social change innovator and news commentator Van Jones, who wrote one of the forewords for Carl’s book. Van also has an important new book, Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together.

From the CIIS Religion and Ecology Summit (March 2018) program description: Climate change disproportionately affects women, especially women in the Global South, women of color, and women in poor communities. In addition, recent research shows that environmental practices are considered emasculating to men. Together in this one-day conference, we explore the various ways that gender intersects with the field of religion and ecology.

The third annual Religion and Ecology Summit will showcase scholars, practitioners, environmentalists, and religious leaders to address the topic of gender at the intersection of religion and ecology. The goal of this conference will be to provide opportunities for networking, learning, building alliances, and sharing research. With recent natural disasters and the re-emergence of the women’s movement, we hope this year’s conference will become a resource for building solidarity and sharing strength and strategies of resistance with one another.

On February 19, 2018, Carl and Paloma were interviewed by Michael Krasny on PBS station KQED in San Francisco, for his show, Forum. The topic was the intersection of race and urbanism. They discussed questions of urban democratization and sustainability raised in the book, shifting social norms and changing environmental realities, Carl’s life’s work, and strategies for enhancing equity in a changing world. Listen and learn how struggles for environmental justice, racial justice, and economic equality must be integrated to provide long-term solutions and how the Universe Story can help us move forward equitably.

P O D C A S T / M P 3…. P L A Y E R
Carl Anthony & Paloma Pavel Interview, February 2018
Click on link below to download as MP3 file:
Carl Anthony & Paloma Pavel Interview, February 2018

The Laura Flanders and Chris Hedges interviews were taped in November when Carl was  in New York for the East Coast Book launch. They were broadcast in early February. Laura Flanders spoke with Carl and activist Ashley Dawson, author of Extreme Cities: The Peril and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change, about How Cities Respond to Climate ChangeIn this 19-minute program they discussed the confluence of economic and racial inequality and new forms of extreme weather. They concluded that in the urbanscape more inequality equals less resilience against climate disaster.

Visit the Laura Flanders Show‘s website to view more great content and find ways to support its development.

2018:  Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges interviewed Carl on the topic of “Architecture as a Form of Oppression”  for his weekly show, On Contact.

In this 27-minute video interview Carl asserted that modern city planning typically caters to the rich and ignores the neediest people. He explained how the enslavement of African Americans persists in architecture, forming another chapter in the long history of environmental exploitation and urban disinvestment. Carl and Chris discussed how architecture functions as a tool of oppression.   Chris’s summary: “Architecture was manipulated to reinforce white supremacy.”

On Dec. 3 Carl and Paloma were interviewed by Malihe Razazan on the KALW program”Your Call,”as part of its One Planet series.

Carl’s interview by Sonali Kolhatkar on Rising Up with Sonali was broadcast on a multitude of radio stations and on FreeSpeech TV and Vimeo. You can download an MP3 file for the video version.

On This Is Hell, a popular radio show on WNUR-FM Chicago and online, host Chuck Mertz talks with Carl about spatial apartheid, city planning, and the book.

Listen to Carl on KPFA-FM  radio discussing his life, work, and book, “The Earth, The City, and The Hidden Narrative of Race” : With Kris Welch on The Talkies, (begins at 39:14);

With Brian Edwards-Tiekert on UpFront (begins at 1:07:42)

Carl Anthony Legacy — Excerpt from Journey Awakening the Dreamer Symposium

Carl Anthony — Excerpt  from Journey of the Universe Conversations
Video by Patsy Northcutt

 Voices from the Community Earth House Center Streaming Media Library
Producers: Paloma Pavel and Rick Butler Executive Producers:
Carl Anthony and Urban Habitat Program Copyright 2001

Carl Anthony on Cosmology and Race

Keynote Presentation delivered April 1, 2006, in New York City at 
the Annual Meeting of the American Teilhard de Chardin Association
The inner-city, urban landscape provides the context for reflections by this major American intellectual on the relevance of cosmology. Carl Anthony’s reading of Thomas Berry’s Dream of the Earth expanded his vision of  his own story and that of all people affected by racism. He shares the experience of this reading and discusses its implications for environmental justice and urban development.
P O D C A S T / M P 3…. P L A Y E R
Carl Anthony Presentation, April 2006
Click on link below to download as MP3 file:
Carl Anthony Presentation, April 2006