The environmental justice movement seeks equitable access to unspoiled natural resources for all communities and to address past wrongs of environmental racism and other forms of discriminatory environmental degradation. This guide provides resources to learn more about the environmental justice movement and environmental racism.
An Introduction to Environmental Justice
Here are a few introductory articles on environmental justice and environmental racism:
"Environmental Justice and Environmental Racism" by Thomas Clarkin in Salem Press Encyclopedia, 2021.
"Environmental Justice" by A. A. Lehtinen in International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, edited by Rob Kitchin and Nigel Thrift, vol. 3, Elsevier, 2009, pp. 535-539.
"Environmental Racism" by James Sterling Hoyte in Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, edited by Colin A. Palmer, 2nd ed., vol. 2, Macmillan Reference USA, 2006, pp. 725-726.
"Environmental Racism" by Mark Sherry and Anna Neller in People of Color in the United States: Contemporary Issues in Education, Work, Communities, Health, and Immigration, edited by Kofi Lomotey, vol. 2: Employment, Housing, Family, and Community, Greenwood, 2016, pp. 98-104.
"Environmental Justice and Interventions to Prevent Environmental Injustice in the United States" by A. Lubitow and D Faber in Encyclopedia of Environmental Health, edited by Jerome O. Nriagu, vol. 2, Elsevier, 2011, pp. 433-440.
A selection of books available at Gleeson Library
A sampling of documentary films available online at Gleeson Library
- Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey CreekFollows the painful but inspiring journey of Derrick Evans, a Boston teacher who moves home to coastal Mississippi when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make way for the sprawling city of Gulfport. Over the course of a decade, Derrick and his neighbors stand up to powerful corporate interests and politicians and face ordeals that include Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster in their struggle for self-determination and environmental justice.
- Tar CreekThis environmental documentary examines the Tar Creek Superfund Site, a stretch of Oklahoma heartland that has long been profoundly damaged by zinc and lead mining. The piece looks back as far as 100 years into Tar Creek's history (when the U.S. government removed Native Americans from the land), and traces the many offenses that have been committed against the area and its people over the past century.
- Cooked: Survival by Zip CodeChicago suffered the worst heat disaster in U.S history in 1995, when 739 residents-mostly elderly and black-died over the course of one week. As COOKED links the deadly heat wave's devastation back to the underlying manmade disaster of structural racism, it delves deep into one of our nation's biggest growth industries: Disaster Preparedness.
- Arlit : Deuxieme ParisThis case study in environmental racism looks at the environmental and social wreckage left behind by a global uranium mining operation in Niger. Arlit, once a boom town, flourished in the early 70's its uranium mines employed 25,000 workers from around the world in high paying jobs. Arlit was alive 24 hours a day, earning it the nickname, 'le deuxiéme Paris.' Then came the collapse in uranium prices and the Tuareg rebellion against the central government in Niamey. When there was nothing more which the Europeans wanted they abandoned Arlit, leaving behind derelict machinery littering the desert. This film demonstrates the ultimate bankruptcy of overseas investment in commodity based industry as a strategy for development.
Here is a list of advocacy organizations that are seeking environmental justice and responding to environmental racism.