This seminar addresses the issues of environmental justice and Civil Rights by reading and discussing select case studies and law review excerpts illustrating environmental racism and exclusionary or restrictive practices that limit participation by disenfranchised populations in decision-making. Environmental justice seeks to correct disproportionate impacts borne by communities of color and low-income communities, and promotes equal access to and meaningful participation in decision-making on environmental health and social equity issues. The course briefly traces the history of the environmental justice movement and examines current environmental justice issues affecting local communities, proposing a collaborative, capacity-building approach to effective advocacy. Students will work in pairs with community-based organizations to help advance on-going efforts, often gaining experience in both legal and non-legal strategies. In past years, students have examined a range of EJ issues, including transportation equity, urban renewal, regional air toxics, immigration, statewide EJ policy, brownfield redevelopment, affordable and inclusive housing, and grant writing. Students are graded on a final research paper (employing a narrative style), a class presentation on the research, and weekly class participation.
Professor consent required to use the final paper for the WIE Writing Requirement.