One of the primary sources for my work here at Grist is the journal Environmental Justice, a publication for peer-reviewed articles and studies on the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws and how they impact marginalized populations.
It’s been around since 2008, runs bi-monthly, and features some of the best scholarship from researchers covering the health disparities and environmental burdens suffered by people of color and modest resources around the globe. Staying in tune with the collaborative problem-solving model for such communities that I wrote about last week, the Environmental Justice journal “facilitates open dialogue among the many stakeholders involved in environmental justice struggles: communities, industry, academia, government, and nonprofit organizations.”
I’ve been reading it, when I can, from the beginning. (I also published a piece in it myself, back in ’08-’09.) But as with most scholarly journals, the content can be pretty pricey. It’ll cost you around $50 to access some articles online, and for only 24 hours. The current issue is free, however, starting today and running through next week, in recognition of Climate Week in New York City and the United Nations Climate Summit.
The journal has made certain articles free in the past, but I can remember maybe one or two other occasions when they tore the price tag off an entire issue. This is a steal — some of the most instructive qualitative and quantitative work in this field, much of it from researchers of color who often go overlooked, and you won’t have to mortgage your house to read them. The articles include:
- “Jobs, Environmental Controversies, Health, and Activism in the News,” where Ashley Fuller, a researcher at UCLA’s California Center for Sustainable Communities takes a look at the kinds of biases we reporters indulge when covering environmental activists and movements.
- “Environmental Justice in the College and University Curriculum: A Survey of the Literature,” where Marjorie Lamson-Nussbaum, a former natural resources instructor in Montana, interrogates whether EJ issues are being adequately included in college courses.
- “Tools for Addressing Cumulative Impacts on Human Health and the Environment,” self-explanatory, from Madeleine Kangsen Scammell, Peter Montague and Carolyn Raffensperger, of the Science and Environmental Health Network. Don’t sleep on this — I field a lot of questions about what tools are available for making these kinds of cumulative impact assessments. It’s an underdeveloped, but quite important subject. This article provides a great service on that front.
- “Benefit or Burden? Environmental Justice and Community-Scale Biomass Energy Systems in Vermont,” from Sarah Mittlefehldt and Codie Tedford of Green Mountain College. Communities working to strengthen state plans under the EPA’s new carbon standards could learn a bit from Vermont, a state that’s exempt from the new regulations because it has no coal plants and little carbon output. This study examines community-scale biomass initiatives and how their social benefits are distributed throughout the state. The authors make a case for decentralizing energy systems as a way to “ensure a more just arrangement of benefits and burdens associated with green energy technologies.”
The journal is edited by Sylvia Hood, the sustainability director for Illinois-based Environmental Health Research Associates, and also Kenneth Olden, the former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences whose work with environmental justice advocates helped forge a relationship between communities and the federal government. In fact, environmental justice activists were in D.C. for, among other things, a symposium Olden and NIEHS helped convene in February 1994 when the community activists were called to the White House for President Clinton’s signing of a new executive order on environmental justice.
Take advantage of this free content before it goes back behind the paywall.