What does InTeGrate mean by Environmental Justice?
Environmental Justice in the US
The environmental justice movement began as a grass-roots movement of affected citizens, civil rights activists, and environmentalists collaborating to secure the rights of low-income and minority communities to clean and safe environments. It has developed into a well-articulated political movement recognized by the U.S. EPA ( This site may be offline. ) that influences environmental policy nationally and globally.
The EPA defines Envrionmental Justice in this way: Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. EPA has this goal for all communities and persons across this Nation. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.
Since the 1980's at least 13 university-based environmental health and racial equity centers have been developed (Bullard, Johnson, and Torres, 2011 ), reflecting the formalization and growing academic interest in the movement. Environmental Justice is a complex issue involving politics, culture, race, class, economics, geoscience, and more. Preparing students to address a grand societal challenge such as environmental injustice requires innovative and collaborative teaching methods. Engaging in an interdisciplinary conversation, incorporating diverse perspectives, and providing pedagogically strong materials are a great place to start.
Intersections of Geoscience and Environmental Justice
Many environmental hazards involve complex geoscience concepts, such as energy (e.g. extraction, use and spillage), water (e.g. watersheds, aquifers, and transport), food (e.g. soil erosion and pollution), Earth's climate (e.g. hurricanes, and acid rain), and natural hazards (e.g. effects of earthquakes, landslides). A basic understanding of these geoscience concepts is necessary to effectively mitigate these risks, whether it's through policy, education, social action, or other avenues of change.
Environmental Justice Across Disciplines
These essays from faculty in multiple disciplines provide insight into how faculty define and work with Environmental Justice in their classrooms:
- Environmental Justice in Energy and Water Studies by Karen Berger, University of Rochester
- Calculating Costs: Economic and Environmental Justice in Urban Geography by Christopher Cusack, Keen State College
- Close Reading - and Close Writing - Environmental Justice by Amanda Hagood, Hendrix College
- Teaching Environmental Justice with Rhetorical Theory: Ecofeminist Wayfinding, Emplacement, and Agency by Lisa Phillips, Illinois State University
- Environmental Justice at the Crossroads (PDF, 264 KB) Julie Sze and Jonathan K. London. 2008. In Sociology Compass, Vol. 2, Nol. 4.
- Environmental Justice in the 21st Century Robert D. Bullard. 2001
- Cole, L. and Foster, S. 2000. "A History of the Environmental Justice Movement" in From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement. New York, New York University Press
- United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice, Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States. 1987. As well as the 20 year update Toxic Wastes and Race at Twenty 1987 to 2007
- Pellow, David N and Brulle, Robert J. Power, Justice, and the Environment : A Critical Appraisal of the Environmental Justice Movement. 2005, MIT Press.
- Emerman, S.H., Bjørnerud, M., Schneiderman, J.S., and Levy, S.A. eds. Liberation Science: Putting Science to Work for Social and Environmental Justice . Raleigh, North Carolina: Lulu Press 2012.