Government & PolicyLawSustainability, Energy & Conservation

ENVS 350 / STS 349 – Environmental Justice & Sustainability

The US Environmental Protection Agency defines environmental justice as “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.” Although we still have a long way to go in achieving this goal, over the last fifty years a vibrant environmental justice movement of racially-diverse activists and international coalitions has struggled to create a more equitable and sustainable world. Specifically, they have worked to expose and end the vastly disproportionate impacts of environmental degradation, climate change, air and water pollution, waste disposal, draught, wild fires, and famine on Black communities, Indigenous communities, and other communities of color around the globe. In this course, students will examine the environmental justice movement, its historical development, its strategies and tactics, and the many contemporary environmental harms it strives to eliminate. Discussions, films, readings, and an independent research project will introduce students to topics including environmental racism, environmental health, (un)natural disasters, climate refugees, agricultural and industrial pollution, international waste export, seed imperialism, food sovereignty, water contamination, reproductive justice, environmental reparations, the extinction crisis, and just forms of sustainability.

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