The impacts of climate change and poor environmental stewardship often adversely impacts impoverished communities and communities of color. Environmental justice political organizing works against those inequalities.

Photo: Beyond My Ken

  • Campus Connection

    Here are some organizations and opportunities on campus that you can reach out to and get involved with:

    • The SEEDS Project: The SEEDS Project is a student-run organization that exists to work alongside marginalized communities and examine the complexities of American society in order to encourage a deeper understanding of the role of service both locally and nationally. You can find out more on SEEDS’ website.
    • Richmond Environmental Law Society: Law school group dedicated to educating people about issues in environmental law and helping to improve sustainability through environmental activities. You can find out more on the Richmond School of Law’s Student Organizations page.
  • Learn

    Here are some resources and classes that may dive deeper into the issues surrounding environmental justice:

    • ENVR 330 Environmental and Resource Economic Theory: Examines legal aspects, both regulations and case law, of environmental policy. Central issues are whether legal responses (1) effectively address the needs of the parties most affected; (2) properly weigh such facts as economic efficiency, protection of nonhuman species, and the possibility of unintended consequences; and (3) are diluted by the political process.
    • GEOG 320 Power, Space, and Territory: Analyses of and explorations into the spatial dimensions and geographic characteristics of global, regional, and local political change; and the political economy and ecology of globalization. Topics include: imperialism; world systems theory; nationalism; regionalism; electoral geography; race, class and gender; political economy of trade and foreign aid; and political ecology.
    • ECON 211 Economic Development in Asia, Africa, and Latin America: Comparative analysis of economic growth, income and wealth distribution, trade and finance, population, agriculture, and industrialization in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
    • ENVR 220 Ecotourism: Ecotourism integrates environmental protection, education, empowerment, local livelihoods, and responsible travel. The study of ecotourism allows students to document and analyze complex interactions between society and nature.
    • ENVR 230 Environmental Economics: Development and application of economic principles to understand and evaluate causes and solutions to environmental problems such as pollution and conservation. Topics include economics of biodiversity protection, global warming, natural resource damage assessment, measurement of environmental values, and alternative strategies for pollution control. Special attention given to optimal use of exhaustible and renewable natural resources
    • ENVR 269/PHIL 269 Topics in Environmental Ethics: Examines various ethical approaches to environmental problems. Topics may vary from year to year but typically will include such issues as treatment of nonhuman animals, resource depletion, environmental justice, genetic engineering, and climate change.
    • ENVR 324 Environmental Law: Survey of issues involved in the field through examination of major cases that have shaped the implementation of major federal environmental statutes since their passage beginning in the 1960s. Topics covered include the common law basis for environmental protection, constitutional and statutory authority to protect the environment, standing to bring environmental cases, the rules of judicial review, and substantive issues involving major environmental statutes and their implementing regulations. The cases are predominantly federal, but Virginia cases are used where appropriate.
    • HIST 390 Food and Power is Asia and Africa: Comparative exploration of the connection between food (cultivation, processing, distribution, consumption, and denial) and political legitimacy, social institutions, and individuals’ identities and values in Asia and Africa from antiquity to present.

    For more information about the different ways to study environmental justice at UR, please contact Dr. Mary Finley-Brook at mbrook@richmond.edu.

  • Community Action

    Want to get a more hands-on experience? Here are some organizations and groups that are actively working on these issues and with which you can engage!

    • Sierra Club: The Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club is 15,000 members strong. Every day, dozens of volunteers are taking action with the Sierra Club in Virginia. From speaking out for a cleaner environment, to exploring every nook and cranny of our beautiful Commonwealth, we think globally and act locally.