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Race and the Environment: Background Information
Environmental Justice / Environmental Racism
An extensive list of readings and resources related to environmental justice and environmental racism, curated by the Energy Justice Network.
The Environmental Justice Movement
An overview of the environmental justice movement by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The Principles of Environmental Justice
Delegates to the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, held in 1991, drafted and adopted these 17 principles of Environmental Justice. Since then, the Principles have served as a defining document for the growing grassroots movement for environmental justice.
Siting of Hazardous Waste Landfills and Their Correlation With Racial and Economic Status of Surrounding Communities
A 1983 U.S. Government Accountability Report showing that Blacks make up the majority of the population in three of the four communities where offsite hazardous waste landfills are located in the Southeastern United States.
Robert Bullard: How Environmental Racism Shapes the US
PBS video of an interview with Dr. Robert Bullard, "Father of Environmental Justice ."
Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States
A 1987 report by Dr. Benjamin Chavis and the United Church of Christ's Commission for Racial Justice which coined the term "environmental racism." The report demonstrated a direct correlation between the placement of toxic waste facilities and communities of poverty and/or color.
Toxic Wastes and Race at Twenty
A 2007 follow-up report to Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States, which was originally published in 1987. The report concludes that "people of color are found to be more concentrated around hazardous waste facilities than previously shown."
The Legacy of American Apartheid and Environmental Racism
A 1994 article by Dr. Robert Bullard discussing the impact of housing discrimination and residential patterns, land use practices, and environmental decision making on the quality of life in communities of color.
Environmental Justice: An Interview with Robert Bullard
Full-text of a 1999 interview from Earth First! Journal with Dr. Robert Bullard, environmental activist and sociologist. He discusses environmental racism and the future of the environmental justice movement.
The Flint Water Crisis
Report by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission showing a link between systemic racism and the crisis of lead-tainted water in Flint, Michigan.
Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’ Is Getting Even More Toxic — But Residents Are Fighting Back
Article from Rolling Stone detailing the legacy of years-long industrial pollution in a predominantly African American area of Louisiana known as "Cancer Alley.".
National Black Environmental Justice Network
The NBEJN is a national coalition of environmental justice organizations and activists of African descent. Since its inception in 1999, it has pursued a proactive strategy for organizing a broad- based Black community to meet the environmental and health threats that disproportionately affect African Americans and other people of color.
Race and Nature
Do Communities of Color Really Feel Disconnected From Nature?
Report on environmental sociology professor Dr. Dorceta Taylor's work to contradict “eternal stereotypes” in conversations about racial representation (and the lack of it) in the environmental field.
Outdoor Afro: Busting Stereotypes That Black People Don't Hike Or Camp
Report by NPR on Outdoor Afro, an organization that celebrates and inspires Black connections and leadership in nature.
Birding While Black
Excerpt from J. Drew Lanham's 2016 book The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature.
The 'Greatest Bird Guide Ever' on Race, Survival, and Birding While Black
Crosscut article on J. Drew Lanham, American author, poet, and wildlife biologist and author of the 2017 memoir The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature.
Seeing Himself in the Science
Article about UW Tacoma assistant professor and urban ecologist, Christopher Schell, from the University of Washington Magazine.
Changing the Face of National Parks
National Geographic article on efforts to increase racial diversity in national parks.
The Inequality of America’s Parks and Green Space
Report on research that finds that income, education, and race are correlated with access to green space across and within U.S. metro areas.
Diversity in the Great Outdoors: Is Everyone Welcome in America’s Parks and Public Lands?
Report on data that suggests a deep inequality in the ethnic/racial mix of visitors to public lands in the United States.
The Green Insider's Club
From the Green 2.0 Working Group, features the report, “The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations: Mainstream NGOs, Foundations & Government Agencies.” It is the most comprehensive report on diversity in the environmental movement, surveying environmental non-profits, government environmental agencies, and environmental grant-making foundations to investigate their gender and racial diversity composition. The study included confidential interviews of environmental leaders from diverse backgrounds and experience.
It's Time for Environmental Studies to Own Up to Erasing Black People
An article from Vice, discussing how many aspects of environmental scholarship are inaccessible to Black students,
Streaming Documentaries @ UW Libraries
These streaming videos are available to view by current UW students, staff & faculty. Additional streaming films are available through your public library.
Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek
Follows 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 in their struggle for self-determination and environmental justice.
Marathon for Justice
Marathon for Justice explores the ways in which people of color have been disproportionately exposed to toxic chemicals and poisonous releases in the air, on the land, and in the water.
Fenceline: A Company Town Divided
Polluting industries have a history of locating in low-income, minority communities, impacting health and leaving residents to fight for environmental justice. Fenceline follows the struggle of an African-American neighborhood known as the Diamond Community to be relocated because of the pollution from the Royal Dutch/Shell Oil Company.
The Main Stream
Humorist Roy Blount, Jr. takes an offbeat journey down the Mississippi River, the literal and figurative Main Stream of America. Blount's unpredictable odyssey celebrates the full range of American diversity, including African Americans working with Greenpeace to fight environmental racism.
Films & Videos Available Online
A Fierce Green Fire: When Environmental Justice Meets Human Rights
Activist Bob Bullard and journalist Philip Shabecoff describe how it took decades for different movements — mainstream environmental, environmental justice, and civil and human rights — to work together towards their common goals.
The Stream - Colour of Pollution: Environmental Racism
If you’re black, Asian or Latino in the United States, you’re more likely to breath polluted air than if you’re white. And if you’re white but poor, the likelihood of being exposed to industrial pollution is higher, too. The federal agency monitoring these issues is crafting a new environmental justice plan, but critics say it fails to protect vulnerable communities from toxins trapping them in poverty and poor health.
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