Environmental Justice (EJ) 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. The Environmental Justice Movement challenges environmental injustices, with a special focus on racial and class disparities, in the U.S. and around the globe. The purpose of this tool is to help students begin to understand:
- What EJ is – and what environmental injustices are;
- How the EJ movement works to address EJ issues (especially in the U.S. South, where the movement was born) with close attention to injustices related to race and class;
- The different types of roles that scientists and engineers in particular can play in this work.
This tool was contributed by Jennifer Hirsch. We also want to thank Fatemeh Shafiei from Spelman College for contributing to this tool.
The tool below provides detailed instructions for leading either 1 or 2 class periods. Rather than distribute the document to students, use it as a guide for designing your class.
Environmental Justice 101 Powerpoint Presentation
Seeing Systems: Peace, Justice & Sustainability
“Linking ‘toxic outliers' to environmental justice communities”
“Which came first, people or pollution? A review of theory and evidence from longitudinal environmental justice studies”
Executive Order 12898 - Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations