Equity & Environmental Justice

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.

Academic Courses

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.

Course ID
Course Name
Semester Offered
AEC380Water Resources: Global Issues in Ecology, Policy, Management, and AdvocacySummer
CE250Introduction to Sustainable InfrastructureFall/Spring
CNR250Diversity and Environmental JusticeFall/Spring
COM436Environmental CommunicationFall**
COM479Climate Change CommunicationFall
COM538Risk CommunicationFall**
CS/HS410Community Food SystemsFall
ES100Introduction to Environmental SciencesFall/Spring/Summer
ES150Water and the EnvironmentSpring
ES200Climate Change and SustainabilityFall/Spring
FLG440Green Germany: Nature and Environment in German Speaking CulturesFall
FW221Conservation of Natural ResourcesFall/Spring/Summer
FW511Human Dimensions of Wildlife and FisheriesSpring
FW730Ethics in Fisheries, WIldlife, and Conservation BiologyFall
HI340History of AgricultureSpring
HI381NGO Nonprofits in a Global ContextFall
HI540American Environmental HistorySpring
HS420Green InfrastructureFall
HS491Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurship Study AbroadSummer
IDS201Environmental EthicsFall/Spring/Summer
IDS303Humans and the EnvironmentFall/Spring/Summer
LAR535Environmetnal Social Equity and DesignSpring
LAR542Human Use of the Urban LandscapeSpring
NTR210Introduction to Community Food SecuritySummer
PHI214Issues in Business EthicsFall/Spring/Summer
PHI420Global Justicen/a
PRT550Human Behavior and the EnvironmentFall
PRT555Environmental Impacts of Recreation and TourismFall
PRT560Theory and Practice of Partnerships for Conservation and Community SustainabilitySpring
PS236Issues in Global PoliticsFall/Spring/Summer**
SOC220Cultural GeographyFall/Spring/Summer
SOC350Food and SocietySpring
SOC351Population and PlanningFall
SOC761Contemporary Debates in Food & EnvironmentFall/Spring
SOC763Environmental SociologyFall
SOC762Sociology of Food SystemsFall
SSC185Land and LifeFall/Spring
STS323World Population and Food ProspectsFall/Spring
WGS308Contemporary Issues in EcofeminismSpring


New Collaborative Community Projects Support Youth Education, Tribal Knowledge, Air and Water Quality, and More

Four new projects in North Carolina are launching this year as part of the Community Collaborative Research Grant Program. Projects will support youth education, tribal knowledge, air and water quality, and an exploration of plastic contaminants in headwaters. North Carolina Sea Grant and N.C. Water Resources Research Institute administer the program in partnership with the William R. Kenan Jr. Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science.