Environmental Justice and the UN SDGs: A WAWA Case Study

Overview: 

The purpose of this tool is to introduce students to the work of the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA) and the history of the Proctor Creek watershed, and to situate this work within the context of two United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation, and SDG 10, Reduced Inequalities. Students will first explore the interactive WAWA StoryMap, which describes the history of environmental racism that led to the pollution of the Proctor Creek watershed and the work of WAWA and the local community in restoring the area. If more background is needed on the concepts of environmental justice and environmental racism, the use of this tool can be prefaced by using part or all of the SLS Environmental Justice 101 tool. After viewing the map, students will then read brief descriptions of two United Nations Sustainable Development Goals SDG 6 and SDG 10, and targets for each that are relevant to WAWA’s work. Use of this tool assumes students have some familiarity with the UN SDGs, but if this is not the case, this tool can be supplemented with information from SLS’s Resources for Teaching about the SDGs. Students will then engage in whole group or small group discussion (depending on instructor’s preference and time), exploring the linkages between the two SDGs, how WAWA’s work relates to targets in each on the local level, and how progress in the two SDGs relate to the environmental justice movement. Discussion questions can also be assigned as an individual take-home exercise.

This tool was contributed by Bonnie Lapwood.

Accompanying reading:  Beyond Markets and States: Polycentric Governance of Complex Economic Systems

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