Environmental Justice

Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert

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Other titles Environmental justice (Online), Environmental justice
ISSN 1939-4071
OCLC 162158419
Material type Document, Periodical, Internet resource
Document type Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details

Mary Ann Liebert

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Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Since the mid-1990s, various qualitative methods have been extensively used in environmental justice (EJ) research. However, majority of the studies fail to explain in rich detail how particular qualitative method(s) of data collection and analysis have been used and what epistemological stance(s) inform their research design. This article underscores the need to attain methodological precision in EJ studies by demonstrating how the meta-theories of critical realism and social constructionism can be linked to forms of discourse analysis to understand different dimensions of a fundamental EJ concern—the process of environmental inequality formation in hazardous workplaces.
    Environmental Justice 02/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to investigate legal tactics employed by lawyers in Massachusetts working on environmental justice cases, and to explore lawyers' perceptions and uses of scientific expertise and data. Semi-structured one-on-one interviews with eight lawyers in Massachusetts focused on each lawyer's most recent environmental justice case, opinions on future legislation, and interactions with scientific data. Currently, there is no environmental justice law in Massachusetts. Lawyers practicing environmental justice often employ a “whatever works” approach to achieve the desired results of their client groups. While there was consensus among the lawyers regarding the need for science in their work, they were apprehensive about scientists' communication styles, costs of data and expertise, and definitions of causation. However, the interviewees admitted that scientific data can inform community organizing, media messaging, lobbying efforts, negotiations, and other tactics often employed to achieve environmental justice. Findings suggest a framework for how lawyers perceive their environmental justice cases. The results highlight tensions between law and science in the field of environmental justice, whose resolution would have implications for environmental equity and public health more broadly. Increased collaboration and understanding of both legal and scientific underpinnings may lead to more productive lawyer-scientist partnerships.
    Environmental Justice 02/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Currently, Mi'kmaw (Aboriginal) and African Nova Scotian communities throughout Nova Scotia, Canada experience disproportional effects of climate change, water contamination, waste disposition, and pollution from the nearby industries. Environmental health equity research findings show differential impacts of toxic facilities and other environmental hazards on health based on race and income. This results in significantly greater health risks for these communities relative to other communities that live in less exposed areas. The Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities and Community Health (ENRICH) project was borne out of an interest in addressing the concerns that Mi'kmaw and African Nova Scotian communities share about the health effects of living near to toxic facilities and other environmental hazards. A series of workshops was held throughout Nova Scotia from September 2013 to January 2014 to discuss these concerns. The main purpose of these workshops was to identify residents' main concerns about the health effects associated with their proximity to toxic facilities and other environmental hazards and to obtain their suggestions for how a future research study could support advocacy efforts around environmental injustices in their communities. The workshop sessions included topics on past, current, and future advocacy efforts and community-based participatory action research. Outcomes from the workshops include consultations with key government departments, a workshop report, a documentary film, as well as communication resources for mobilizing the wider community, such as a project newsletter, a project website, Facebook, television, newspapers, radio, and community meetings.
    Environmental Justice 02/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Social movements and collective action have often been studied using newspapers for data. Concerns with newspaper data include selection bias, where a subset of accounts, events, or statements are reported, and description bias, which refers to the veracity of accounts and statements. Bias can be created by intentional or accidental misstatements of events and processes, by type of event selected by journalists, and by characteristics of the reporting entity. In this article, bias and scholarly strategies to address bias are discussed in the context of two West Virginian environmental conflicts; one focuses on mountaintop removal mining and one involves the production of the insecticide methyl isocyanate (MIC). Newspaper data is used to explore what activists say motivates their activism toward corporations causing environmental hazards.
    Environmental Justice 08/2014; 7(4):87-94.
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    ABSTRACT: Energy production and distribution have created archetypal cases of environmental injustice—mountaintop removal for coal mining in Appalachia, nuclear waste siting on Navajo reservations in the West, oil refineries in southern Louisiana. Renewable energy technologies designed to aid the transition to a lower-carbon economy have often perpetuated the injustices inherent in current energy systems. Clearly, all energy systems create environmental burdens. But to what extent can community-scale, renewable energy systems minimize environmental burdens and maximize benefits to local communities? How can green technologies and the sociopolitical relationships associated with those particular technologies be arranged so that renewable energy systems produce environmental and social benefits, while distributing burdens more equitably? This case study of community-scale woody biomass initiatives in Vermont examines how particular biomass technologies and associated power relations have structured environmental burdens and social benefits throughout the state. This study reveals the importance of decentralizing energy systems—not only in terms of energy technologies, but also of technological decision-making processes. We argue that distributing power in this way may be the most effective way to ensure a more just arrangement of benefits and burdens associated with green energy technologies.
    Environmental Justice 08/2014; 7(4):110-114.
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    ABSTRACT: In many cities, urban parks have emerged as an important environmental justice issue. Parks in predominantly lower-income and minority areas are frequently smaller, with fewer amenities, and they are often beset by neglect or problems with crime or perceptions of crime. As public funding for parks has declined, urban park systems are increasingly turning to volunteers and volunteer organizations to perform important functions. Consequently, the achievement and preservation of environmental justice may depend on ensuring that parks in neglected areas are served by active volunteers. We analyze the distribution of Friends of the Parks volunteer groups in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. We find that most parks in the County lack Friends groups, regardless of demographic characteristics in the surrounding neighborhood, and we find that parks in all parts of this highly segregated county have Friends groups. However, our findings indicate that Friends groups are more likely to remain active at larger parks more common within affluent, predominantly white neighborhoods, while Friends groups are more likely to become inactive at smaller parks more typical in inner-city communities. As public funding for parks continues to decline, we propose that an important environmental justice priority for urban parks systems will be to find ways to keep groups active and engaged at smaller inner-city parks.
    Environmental Justice 06/2014; 7(3):70-76.
  • Environmental Justice 06/2014; 7(3):61-69.
  • Environmental Justice 02/2014; 7(1):1-8.
  • Environmental Justice 02/2014; 7(1):27-32.
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    ABSTRACT: Public participation, sometimes referred to as public involvement or engagement, is often a mandated process in agency-led environmental and land use planning with major implications for environmental justice. Theoretically and in practice, quantity and quality of these public participation activities remain variable in the United States. This article reports on residents’ experiences in two distinct frontline communities, those living near the proposed New International Trade Crossing in Detroit, Michigan and the Port of Long Beach in Long Beach, California. Recent studies suggest that persons of color and low-income are disproportionately exposed to air and noise pollution from heavy-duty engines at freight gateways (e.g., ports, borders). Synthesizing findings from qualitative interviews with community members and leaders, content analysis of environmental assessments, and observations at public events, we describe recent freight land use deliberations, as well as public participation experiences, catalysts, and barriers during these deliberations in the two study communities. Drawing directly on perspectives of community members and leaders as public participants, we report how agency-led public participation opportunities, while extensive, may be experienced as confusing, perfunctory, discriminatory, and burdensome. Further, public participation generally entails intensive community organizing efforts and can become a source of chronic stress for active residents of frontline communities— many who have been historically and repeatedly marginalized during land use planning and by its outcomes. We conclude by reconsidering theoretical frameworks, and offering concrete strategies for decision makers in a variety of sectors, such as transportation, housing, planning, and public health, to improve procedural justice and promote environmental justice.
    Environmental Justice 01/2014; 7(2):45-54.
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    ABSTRACT: ‘‘Cumulative impacts’’ refers to the total harm to human health and the environment resulting from combinations of stressors over time. Cumulative impacts are creating three kinds of effects: degraded ecosystems (such as oceans and boreal forests), human diseases, and disproportionately burdened communities, which are the hallmark of environmental injustice. At the heart of the problem lie the modern risk-based regulatory systems of the United States and Europe, which are not designed to understand or manage cumulative impacts and which have permitted an accumulation of harmful activities and effects. Alternative, precautionary regulatory approaches have been recommended but not yet widely implemented. Now some communities, planners, and regulators are finding ways to supplement traditional risk-based approaches, using innovative new tools for assessment and decision-making in the face of cumulative impacts, including indexes, mapping, and screening. These efforts both inform policy and serve as exemplary models. Together they point the way toward new, precautionary decision structures aimed at reducing cumulative impacts.
    Environmental Justice 01/2014; 7(4):102-109.
  • Environmental Justice 12/2013; 6(6):191-199.
  • Environmental Justice 10/2013; 6(5):163-168.
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    ABSTRACT: There are approximately 590,000 underground storage tanks (USTs) nationwide that store petroleum or hazardous substances. Many of these tanks are leaking, which may increase the risk of exposure to contaminants that promote health problems in host neighborhoods. Within this study, we assessed disparities in the spatial distribution of leaking underground storage tanks (LUSTs) based on socioeconomic status (SES) and race/ethnicity in South Carolina (SC). Chi-square tests were used to evaluate the difference in the proportion of populations who host a LUST compared to those not hosting a LUST for all sociodemographic factors. Linear regression models were applied to examine the association of distance to the nearest LUST with relevant sociodemographic measures. As percent black increased, the distance (both in kilometers and miles) to the nearest LUST decreased. Similar results were observed for percent poverty, unemployment, persons with less than a high school education, blacks in poverty, and whites in poverty. Furthermore, chi-square tests indicated that blacks or non-whites or people with low SES were more likely to live in LUST host areas than in non-host areas. As buffer distance increased, percent black and non-white decreased. SES variables demonstrated a similar inverse relationship. Overall, burden disparities exist in the distribution of LUSTs based on race/ethnicity and SES in SC.
    Environmental Justice 10/2013; 6(5):175-182.
  • Environmental Justice 10/2013; 6(5):169-173.
  • Environmental Justice 08/2013; 6(4):140-144.