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Environmental Justice

Environmental justice is a concept and social movement that advocates for the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people in the development of environmental laws, policy, and regulatory practice. The main principal of environmental justice centers around addressing the disproportionate environmental burdens faced by marginalized communities, including:

Unequal exposure to pollutants, hazardous waste, and other environmental hazards Many low-income and minority communities are located near industrial facilities, landfills, or other sources of pollution, increasing their risk of adverse health effects [1].
Lack of access to environmental benefits These communities often have limited access to clean air, water, green spaces, and other environmental amenities that contribute to a healthy living environment [2].
Exclusion from decision-making processes Historically, these communities have been underrepresented or excluded from policy-making and decision-making processes that affect their environment [3].

The environmental justice movement seeks to address these inequalities by advocating for policies that: prevent and mitigate adverse environmental impacts on marginalized communities; ensure equal access to environmental benefits and resources; promote meaningful participation by the public in environmental decision-making processes, and hold governments and corporations accountable for environmental injustices.

This guide, developed collaboratively between UMass Chan Medical's Diversity and Inclusion Office, the Office of Sustainability, and the Lamar Soutter Library, is a collection of resources that further unpacks the environmental justice movement, and provides guidance on how to take action. If you have any questions about the content of this guide, or any other items related to your research, get in touch with us at !

[1] Socioeconomic Disparities and Air Pollution Exposure: A Global Review (Hajat, A.; Hsia, C., & O'Neill, M.S., 2015)
[2] Advancing sustainability through urban green space: Cultural ecosystem services, equity, and social determinants of health (Jennings, V.; Larson, L., & Yun, J., 2016).
[3] Trends and Directions in Environmental Justice: From Inequity to Everyday Life, Community, and Just Sustainabilities (Agyeman, J., 2016).
Banner image: High Expectations, Loss & Damage at COP28 by Mídia NINJA, CC BY-NC 4.0