All people depend on the environment, and our quality of life is so often directly linked to the quality of our environment. Given our dependence on natural resources, man-made environmental pollution and toxins are a threat to human health. Often, these environmental burdens disproportionately impact people of color, poor people and other marginalized communities.
Environmental justice seeks to level the share of environmental benefits and burdens. The EPA defines environmental justice as the merging of issues of race, color, national origin or income with issues of development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. In order to be inclusive, environmental projects must have the meaningful involvement of all people affected by them.
The ultimate goal of environmental justice is that everyone has the same degree of environmental protection and equal access to the decision-making process that shapes the environment in which they live.
Both locally and globally, NC State has ongoing research and student initiatives that work toward a healthy future of social, environmental and financial balance. On campus, the university has also hosted symposiums, an Environmental Justice workshop in partnership with the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity, and experiences such as an environmental justice-themed Alternative Service Break trip. Some student organizations, such as the NC State Stewards, also focus on environmental justice.
Here are a few community resources to begin learning more about environmental justice.
- NC Department of Environmental Quality has a community mapping tool of NC counties and municipalities
- EJSCREEN is the Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool from the Environmental Protection Agency
- Broken Ground Podcast covers environmental stories from the South
- Southerly reports on ecology, justice and culture in the American South
- Scalawag Magazine focuses on social change in the South
NC State has a campus working group focused on environmental justice. If you have interest in this area, please contact Lindsay Batchelor, who directs the University Sustainability Office.
- Kwesi Brookins, Associate Professor of Psychology, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
- Katlyn May, Director of the Community Engagement Core, Center for Human Health and Environment
- Tatiana Height, Graduate Student, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
- Louie Rivers, Associate Professor, College of Natural Resources
- Bethany Cutts, Assistant Professor of Human Dimensions, College of Natural Resources
- Kofi Boone, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, College of Design
- Ryan Emanuel, Associate Professor, College of Natural Resources
- Lindsay Batchelor, Director, University Sustainability Office
- Oppong Hemeng, Program Coordinator, University Sustainability Office
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“Part of the quantification and evaluation of sustainability is understanding the societal impacts of our actions in the natural environment.”
Dr. Ryan Emanuel, College of Natural Resources
The following university courses are related to environmental justice. Browse the course schedule for the most current information about when these courses may be offered.
|AEC||380||Water Resources: Global Issues in Ecology, Policy, Management, and Advocacy||Summer|
|CE||250||Introduction to Sustainable Infrastructure||Fall/Spring|
|CNR||250||Diversity and Environmental Justice||Fall/Spring|
|COM||479||Climate Change Communication||Fall|
|CS/HS||410||Community Food Systems||Fall|
|ES||100||Introduction to Environmental Sciences||Fall/Spring/Summer|
|ES||150||Water and the Environment||Spring|
|ES||200||Climate Change and Sustainability||Fall/Spring|
|FLG||440||Green Germany: Nature and Environment in German Speaking Cultures||Fall|
|FW||221||Conservation of Natural Resources||Fall/Spring/Summer|
|FW||511||Human Dimensions of Wildlife and Fisheries||Spring|
|FW||730||Ethics in Fisheries, WIldlife, and Conservation Biology||Fall|
|HI||340||History of Agriculture||Spring|
|HI||381||NGO Nonprofits in a Global Context||Fall|
|HI||540||American Environmental History||Spring|
|HS||491||Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurship Study Abroad||Summer|
|IDS||303||Humans and the Environment||Fall/Spring/Summer|
|LAR||535||Environmetnal Social Equity and Design||Spring|
|LAR||542||Human Use of the Urban Landscape||Spring|
|NTR||210||Introduction to Community Food Security||Summer|
|PHI||214||Issues in Business Ethics||Fall/Spring/Summer|
|PRT||550||Human Behavior and the Environment||Fall|
|PRT||555||Environmental Impacts of Recreation and Tourism||Fall|
|PRT||560||Theory and Practice of Partnerships for Conservation and Community Sustainability||Spring|
|PS||236||Issues in Global Politics||Fall/Spring/Summer**|
|SOC||350||Food and Society||Spring|
|SOC||351||Population and Planning||Fall|
|SOC||761||Contemporary Debates in Food & Environment||Fall/Spring|
|SOC||762||Sociology of Food Systems||Fall|
|SSC||185||Land and Life||Fall/Spring|
|STS||323||World Population and Food Prospects||Fall/Spring|
|WGS||308||Contemporary Issues in Ecofeminism||Spring|