Environmental Justice Resources

Some Definitions and Resources

CSLS Working Definition of Environmental Justice

“Environmental Justice is concerned with making sure that (A) no community takes on an unfair share of environmental burdens and (B) environmental benefits are shared in an equitable way regardless of race, class, gender, or orientation.”

Short Videos on Environmental Justice

EJ Case Studies

Historical:

Contemporary:

Additional Resources on Environmental Justice

Get involved in local Atlanta efforts related to environmental justice:

Some Other Definitions of Environmental Justice

“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.

What is meant by fair treatment and meaningful involvement?

Fair treatment means that no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies
Meaningful Involvement means that:

  1. people have an opportunity to participate in decisions about activities that may affect their environment and/or health;
  2. the public’s contribution can influence the regulatory agency’s decision;
  3. their concerns will be considered in the decision making process; and
  4. the decision makers seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected”

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
 

An environmental injustice exists when members of disadvantaged, ethnic, minority or other groups suffer disproportionately at the local, regional (sub-national), or national levels from environmental risks or hazards, and/or suffer disproportionately from violations of fundamental human rights as a result of environmental factors, and/or denied access to environmental investments, benefits, and/or natural resources, and/or are denied access to information; and/or participation in decision making and/or access to justice in environment-related matters.”

 - National Institute of Minority Health Disparities

“Environmental justice science [seeks to] understand how burden disparities lead to exposure, risk, and health disparities”

- Sacoby Wilson, Assistant Professor, Applied Environmental Health, University of Maryland School of Public Health, in “CAFOs  and Environmental Justice: The Case of North Carolina

For a more extensive definition of EJ, and examinations of equity and equality in relation to EJ, see the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington

 

Some Definitions of Environmental Racism

“Environmental racism is the systemic placing of toxic burdens upon people of color. It is an example of structural racism – not necessarily the conscious acts of individuals, but ways in which society is structured that creates patterns of unequal burdens.”

- Carl A. Zimring, Associate Professor of Sustainability Studies, Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies, Pratt Institute, in “Flint’s Sorry Legacy of Environmental Racism

 

“‘Environmental racism’, the term used in the earliest literature in the field (e.g., Chavis 1987), describes the disproportionate effects of environmental pollution on racial minorities. Because it describes the disproportionate relationship between high levels of pollution exposure for people of color and the low level of environmental benefits they enjoy, environmental racism can be defined as the unequal distribution of environmental benefits and pollution burdens based on race. ‘Environmental inequality’ has emerged more recently to encompass both additional factors that associated with disproportionate environmental impacts such as class, gender, immigration status, as well as the inter-connections between these factors. ‘Environmental justice’ is the name of the social movement that emerged in response to these particular problems.” 

- “Environmental Justice at the Crossroads,” by Julie Sze and Jonathan K. London,
University of California-Davis

General Resources on Equity and Sustainability

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