Sustainability encompasses the “Three Es” of environment, economy, and equity — and environmental justice is one important aspect of the social equity that is the ethical foundation of sustainable communities. An environmentally progressive and economically powerful community that is socially unjust — one in which certain people bear the brunt of pollution, receive inferior education, have limited economic opportunities, and/or suffer discrimination — is not sustainable. Consequently, environmental justice (EJ) is a critical theme of all Sustainability Studies courses at Roosevelt University, as well as a key factor in assessing the sustainable future of suburban communities — the focus of this ongoing web project.
Beginning in the fall semester of 2013, students in SUST program at Roosevelt University began exploring the connections among waste, pollution, and environmental justice as research projects in SUST 240 Waste (see this pdf of assignment guidelines), selected examples of which are featured in this section of Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future. These studies profile real communities in the Chicago region and beyond, and illustrate the continued and urgent need for environmental remediation, waste site clean-up, and equitable decision-making to occur in the cities and suburbs that are disproportionately impacted by the environmental impacts of pollution and toxic waste.
Resources on Environmental Justice
- Energy Justice Network, Environmental Justice / Environmental Racism
- Robert Bullard, et al. Environmental Justice Milestones and Accomplishments: 1964-2014 (pdf)
- Charles Lee, “Evolving Visions of Environmental Justice,” from the EPA’s blog on 11 Feb 2014
- Social justice-related posts from the SUST at RU blog and Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future website
- Roosevelt’s Social Justice Blog and the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation
Chicago-area Environmental Justice Organizations
- Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO)
- People for Community Recovery
- Pilson Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (P.E.R.R.O.)
- Southeast Environmental Task Force
Banner image: Chicago Women’s Tribunal, summer 2012 (Feminist Task Force)