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

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • On author's personal website
    • On institutional repository, pre-print server or research network after 12 months embargo
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • Set statement to accompany deposit (see policy)
    • Publisher copyright and source must be acknowledged
    • NIH authors will have their final paper, (post peer review, copy-editing and proof-reading) deposited in PubMed Central on their behalf
    • Must link to publisher version with DOI
  • Classification
    green

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Environmental justice (EJ) research focuses on disproportionate population exposures to multiple point and non-point pollution sources. The hazardous pollutants released by waste incinerators can contribute to uneven (or unjust) spatial and social distributions of environmental risks. The EJ literature has already revealed that the geographical distribution of incinerators generates distinct social inequalities. In the French context, these inequalities are evident when considering the proportion of unemployed people, the proportion of recent immigrants and the proportion of persons born abroad (each increases the likelihood that a town hosts an incinerator). In this article, we seek to determine whether additional social injustices occur due to disproportionate quantities of incinerator emissions. We collected annual nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from all incinerators in France for 2009–2010. We found that incinerators in French municipalities with higher unemployment and higher proportions of immigrants and persons born abroad have higher NOx emission levels, even when controlling for population size and broader regional social and environmental deprivation indices. This indicates that incinerators in France generate higher social inequalities than initially thought, both due to their spatial distribution and to the amount of emissions they release. We recommend that unequal social impacts should be considered in waste management planning, facility siting decisions, and decisions affecting emission controls for existing and possible future incinerators in France.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Environmental Justice
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    ABSTRACT: For over two decades there have been calls for urban governments to engage in environmental sustainability planning as an integral part of broader sustainable development strategies. This article explores the unique vulnerabilities that environmental justice (EJ) communities face within cities and under the purview of environmental sustainability planning. Using content analysis, the research evaluates the language of municipal sustainability plans by assessing their respective attentions to justice, economic, and environmental concerns. With studied plans giving varied attention to EJ, ranging from none to robust acknowledgment, this work recognizes that in order for sustainability planning to be democratic, outputs must be accessible to the public, especially marginalized communities. This includes cognizance of, and attention to inequity and inequality in planning materials and programs.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Environmental Justice
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    ABSTRACT: This article explores substantive justice within the context of planning controversial facilities. Using qualitative inquiry into three cases of planning waste incineration plants in Canada, this study goes beyond distributional understanding of environmental justice and investigates the role of substantive justice in environmental planning processes. The article concludes that substantive justice accounts are different from those related to distributional concerns, and play an important role in formulating actors' positions towards the proposed project. Substantive justice is associated with the fairness of the final outcome of the project regardless of its location, and has to do with the beliefs about different waste management options, and more specifically, about their environmental performance and influence on shaping the future of waste management systems. The findings of this research confirm the plurality of environmental justice accounts that go beyond the distributional concerns, and suggest that the focus of environmental discourse in waste management planning may be shifting from waste distribution to its prevention.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Environmental Justice
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    ABSTRACT: People of color are overrepresented in communities with the poorest air quality and numerous pollution sources, and suffer disproportionate rates of asthma. Moreover, communities with the worst air pollution tend to have high poverty rates. Activists, scholars, and health and legal experts contend that the mere presence of inequitable environmental burdens and multiple exposures supports the belief that: (a) the health and lives of poor people and people of color matter little; and (b) their communities are incapable of, or less likely to, organize to prevent or end hazardous exposures. The social construction framework, built on the idea of benefit or burden allocation and the ability to exercise political power, serves as an apt lens for examining the interplay between societal perceptions of low-income people and people of color, and Executive Order 12898's content, implementation, and effectiveness. While symbolically and materially important, Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, is flawed, in part, because its creation and execution were influenced by negative social constructs. Further, Executive Order 12898's effectiveness has been hampered by the absence of statutory authority, funding, and consistent implementation. Rectifying federal-level environmental injustice, and associated health disparities, minimally requires: (a) negative social construction reversal; (b) the eradication of environmental health disparities to become as important to our society as curing cancer; (c) securing statutory (legal) authority for Executive Order 12898; and in general, (d) strong, unbiased, protective policies and interventions that are sufficiently funded.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Environmental Justice

  • No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Environmental Justice
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    ABSTRACT: There is has been strong interest in the state of diversity in the environmental field for some time now. Recent studies have shown that gender diversity is progressing at a faster pace than racial diversity. This article reports on data collected from 324 mainstream environmental organizations in 2014. It examines gender and racial diversity in six different types of environmental organizations - general conservation organizations, freshwater organizations, environmental education centers, environmental consulting organizations, environmental policy institutes/think tanks, and professional conservation and trade associations. The study found that though females exceed males on the staff of environmental organizations, women are underrepresented in the top leadership echelons of the institutions. The study also found that minorities are underrepresented in all ranks of the staff and leadership of environmental organizations. The successes women have had in being hired into the environmental workforce and being promoted to leadership positions are not being replicated for minorities. In addition, the study examined a seventh type of organization. It examined 13 environmental justice organizations and found high levels of gender and racial diversity in them. The study identified factors such as cultural insensitivity, reluctance to hire minorities, failure to promote minorities to leadership positions, ineffective recruitment strategies, and poor mentoring as conditions retarding racial diversity efforts.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Environmental Justice
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    ABSTRACT: Since 1982, 51% of New Brunswick's forests, which are on Crown Lands, have been managed by large industrial license holders, as mandated by the province's Crown Lands and Forests Act (CLFA). The government's 2014 renegotiation of forestry management agreements (FMAs) with licensees saw the size of forest conservation areas diminished substantially so as to provide industry with more wood fibre for its mills. New Brunswick's aboriginal peoples never ceded this land to the Crown, and were never consulted prior to the announcement of these new FMAs. Ten New Brunswick chiefs took the government to court, arguing that what the government was proposing infringed on their treaty rights to hunt, fish, and gather because the forest habitat required to provide them with fish, wildlife, and medicinal plants necessary to exercise those rights was about to be destroyed. The chiefs were unsuccessful in their attempt to block the new FMAs. Using institutional ethnography as my method of investigation, my goal was to explore and discover how it was that the chiefs came to lose their case.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Environmental Justice
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    ABSTRACT: There are significant disparities in asthma prevalence and management in New York City (NYC). Children living in the low income, largely minority neighborhood of East Harlem are almost 13 times more likely to have an asthma related emergency department visit compared to children on the Upper East Side, an adjacent high income neighborhood. The disparities in asthma prevalence and control are in part attributable to environmental conditions, including housing, which in low-income communities is often poorly maintained, resulting in mold, pests, and other asthma triggers. Controlling Asthma through Home Remediation (CAHR), a program of LSA Family Health Service (LSAFHS), offers remediation and repair, training, and comprehensive case management to East Harlem families that have children with severe and/or persistent asthma and live in NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) public housing. Preliminary findings, based on pre-post assessments of 60 CAHR children, include statistically significant reductions in nighttime awakenings, emergency department visits, and rescue medication use. There were reductions in daytime asthma symptoms and improvements in household conditions; however, they were not statistically significant. Recognizing the limited reach of individual level services, LSAFHS also advocates for system-wide changes across NYCHA. Citing the Americans with Disabilities Act and its relevance to individuals with asthma, LSAFHS, in partnership with other community-based organizations and public interest attorneys, reached a settlement with NYCHA in 2013 that resulted in policy changes mandating expedited repairs of leaks, mold, and related issues. Monitoring the impact of these changes is ongoing. A hope is for replication of advocacy efforts in other cities.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Environmental Justice
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    ABSTRACT: Addressing the unequal burden of environmental risks to health in communities of color is an important goal of environmental health scientists and advocates. The Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP) is a long term initiative studying how early life exposures to endocrine disrupting chemicals may increase a woman's risk for breast cancer. Breast cancer mortality rates among African American women are higher than Caucasian women; there are higher rates of diagnosis among women at younger ages. Lower incomes and low health literacy in many African American communities represent challenges to reach women with information about breast cancer and the environment that they can act upon. This article describes a peer led breast cancer and the environment training program with and for African American women in New York City designed by BCERP investigators and their community partners. The program used the expertise of "seasoned" breast cancer advocates/mentors to help women from the Witness Project of Harlem, a faith-based breast and cervical cancer education program, develop and deliver messages on breast cancer and the environment to their communities. The program emphasized environmental exposures in the home - personal care products, household cleaning products, plastics, and pesticides. Learning about safer, affordable alternatives to reduce exposure was an important focus. Twelve women from the Witness Project of Harlem were trained. Based on that foundation, community presentations, tailored to the cultural styles, language, and education of women in Harlem and other New York City communities, were delivered. Results demonstrate interest in environmental health and significant increases in knowledge.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Environmental Justice
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    ABSTRACT: This paper examines the permitting process for a coal strip mine in Southeastern Ohio using a distributive and procedural environmental justice framework. A permit application to mine Joy Hollow, a site in rural Athens County, was submitted to the Ohio Division of Mineral Resources Management in 2011. The permit applicant promised the mine would bring jobs and environmental restoration to the Appalachian region already damaged by previous rounds of coal mining. Landowners in favor of the mine leased their property to the mining company, while others living near the proposed mine site opposed it. The opposing groups engaged in the familiar "economy versus environment" debate; however, both groups used ecological narratives to justify their positions. We used semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and document analysis to determine that proponents and opponents of the mine both faced distributive injustice in the form of environmental damage to their hollow from earlier mining activities. However, opponents worried about additional environmental health problems associated with renewed mining faced significant procedural injustice in getting regulators to hear their concerns. Ultimately, the citizen group overcame structural constraints in the permitting process and obtained some justice by putting much pressure on the regulatory authority to fully review, and delay granting, the permit. The applicant subsequently put its permit application on hold and its plan to mine Joy Hollow was tabled. This case study is indicative of the damaging, intra-racial antagonisms created by - and contributing to - enduring forms of injustice in Appalachia wrought by the boom and bust coal economy.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Environmental Justice
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    ABSTRACT: In west Eugene (Oregon), community research indicates residents are disproportionately exposed to industrial air pollution and exhibit increased asthma incidence. In Carroll County (Ohio), recent increases in unconventional natural gas drilling sparked air quality concerns. These community concerns led to the development of a prototype mobile device to measure personal chemical exposure, location, and respiratory function. Working directly with the environmental justice (EJ) communities, the prototype was developed to 1) meet the needs of the community and 2) evaluate the use in EJ communities. The prototype was evaluated in three community focus groups (n = 25) to obtain feedback on the prototype and feasibility study design to evaluate the efficacy of the device to address community concerns. Focus groups were recorded and qualitatively analyzed with discrete feedback tabulated for further refinement. The prototype was improved by community feedback resulting in eight alterations/additions to software and instructional materials. Overall, focus group participants were supportive of the device and believed it would be a useful environmental health tool. The use of focus groups ensured that community members were engaged in the research design and development of a novel environmental health tool. We found that community-based research strategies resulted in a refined device as well as relevant research questions, specific to the EJ community needs and concerns.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Environmental Justice
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    ABSTRACT: The Internet age has led to a proliferation of so-called emerging information communication technologies (eICTs). As the personal use of the Internet, mobile devices, and social media has expanded and evolved, these eICTs have been incorporated into strategies to improve risk communication associated with natural disaster management. A review of eICT use as part of natural disaster communication is critical to knowing whether the new technologies support the needs and risk cultures of historically disenfranchised populations and whether they ultimately provide an opportunity to better address both acute and chronic environmental hazards. There is a need to know whether eICTs differ from other technologies in the ways that they exacerbate old environmental injustices and/or create new ones. This article reviews the eICT literature based with a focus on the U.S. Through a review of published and gray literature, we evaluate whether research articles acknowledge or directly address environmental and social disparity related to eICT use in natural disasters. The articles included in the review suggest an emerging, but diffuse operational definition of environmental justice. We find the greatest emphasis on recognizing diverse stakeholders and the least concern for solutions that reduce environmental burdens or their inequitable distribution.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Environmental Justice
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    ABSTRACT: The confluence of energy supply- and demand-side dynamics links vulnerable communities along the spectrum of energy production and consumption. The disproportionate burden borne by vulnerable communities along the energy continuum are seldom examined simultaneously. Yet, from a justice perspective there are important parallels that merit further exploration in the United States and beyond. A first step is to understand links to vulnerability and justice along the energy continuum by way of theoretical constructs and practical applications. The present article posits energy as a social and environmental justice issue and advances our current understanding of the links between energy and vulnerability, particularly in the U.S. context. Drawing on several emerging concepts including, "energy sacrifice zones," "energy insecurity" and "energy justice," this article lays a foundation for examining critical sacrifices along the energy continuum. To conclude, four basic rights are proposed as a starting point to achieve recognition and equity for vulnerable populations in the realm of energy.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Environmental Justice
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    ABSTRACT: Access to safe water and adequate living standards are recognized as basic health requisites and human rights worldwide. Nevertheless, socially marginalized women across the globe are currently facing threats to safe water access, which has dire implications for their health and that of their children. The City of Detroit, Michigan has recently shut off water services to over 50,000 residences, with low-income and racially marginalized women and their families disproportionately affected. The conditions for many Detroit residents are not unlike those in Monrovia, Liberia, where lack of access to safe water and substandard environments have contributed to the ongoing Ebola epidemic and subsequent maternal and infant mortality. Utilizing a comparative analytic approach rooted in postcolonial feminist theory and intersectionality, our commentary draws parallels between these two timely water, human rights, and reproductive justice crises in Detroit and Monrovia. We explore how public discourse and proposed solutions have failed to acknowledge the historical contexts and sociopolitical determinants of these crises, which have urgent and long-lasting implications for women's reproductive health and social justice worldwide.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Environmental Justice
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    ABSTRACT: The connection between health and housing was widely understood by nineteenth century social reformers and philanthropists and was the dominant framework for low-income housing until the early twentieth century. The Affordable Care Act has not only set in motion reform in the nation's health care system, but also opens up new opportunities for re-connecting the housing and health sectors. While housing affordability will remain the central challenge for low- and middle-income people, the strong evidence of how housing quality and affordability impacts health calls for a new framework that envisions housing as a platform for improving quality of life. This platform can be conceived as a multi-layered: as service delivery portal, as target for prevention, and as anchor for healthy neighborhoods. These layers are associated with different at-risk populations and different strategies for financing and policy action. Philanthropy can play a key role in re-connecting the sectors through its capacity to build the evidence base, change the discourse about housing, foster policy change, and promote innovation.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Environmental Justice
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    ABSTRACT: Hurricane Sandy damaged or destroyed 76,000 buildings with over 300,000 housing units; nine percent of the total housing in New York City. Sandy also damaged 405 New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) buildings, affecting 35,000 units. Affected residents were forced to move in with family, temporary housing, or endured long periods without heat or electricity, as most building systems were located in flooded basements. Additionally, workers, volunteers, and residents who engaged in cleanup were potentially exposed to raw sewage, mold, asbestos, lead, dust, carbon monoxide, as well as electrocution; slips, trips, and falls; and construction-related safety hazards. Stress and trauma were also significant. These exposures may cause death, disease, and injury. The need to provide protection programs and effective training crosses a number of populations including day laborers, volunteer groups, and residents who are involved in cleanup and rebuilding. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Worker Training Program (WTP) has provided funding to more than 20 grantees including universities, labor unions, and other organizations to provide effective worker health and safety and disaster preparedness and response training for more than 20 years. This has built a critical infrastructure in the targeted industrial sectors and unions. WTP has also been active in disasters including September 11, Katrina, the Gulf oil spill, and Sandy. Preventing injury and disease in all the groups that are involved in disaster response, cleanup, and rebuilding warrants extending the NIEHS health and safety programs to volunteers, residents, and worker populations who previously have not had access to hazardous materials and related training programs. This can be accomplished by adapting health and safety programs and just-in-time training to the needs and cultures of these groups. These efforts should also further ongoing approaches to empower grantees and end-users so that they can independently build dynamic health and safety and training programs into their disaster preparedness and response work.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Environmental Justice
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    ABSTRACT: Residential gardens have been understudied as spaces for community building, health, housing improvement, and environmental justice. While research in the environmental justice and food justice literatures have focused primarily on community gardens, there continues to be a dearth of research and understanding of the benefits and potential challenges of home gardens, for individuals, families, and communities. This community based research project examines a cohort of 36 families that received a home garden, training classes, plants and supplies, and technical support in the spring, summer, and fall of 2013 through a program run by Meet Each Need with Dignity (MEND). MEND is an antipoverty organization operating in Pacoima, a low-income, historically industrial, and predominantly Latino neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles. We follow families through one planting cycle, interviewing participants upon receiving their garden and through their first harvest. While in the first stage of a multi-year effort, our data demonstrates the potential for home gardens to contribute to household food budgets, increase pride in homes, motivate community involvement, and provide proximate pockets of green space. This project is a first step towards filling the gap in the literature on home gardens and their potential role in greening communities burdened by historical pollution.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Environmental Justice