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11.952 Environmental Justice

11.952 ­ ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

 

Spring 2000

3-0-9 (H)

Class Sessions: Prof. Dara O'Rourke

Tuesday-Thursday 9:30-11:00 a.m. dorourke@mit.edu

Room 10-401 Office Hours: Tuesday 3-5 p.m.

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION

A new arena of environmental conflict and policy response has emerged over the last 10 years which focuses on Environmental Justice (EJ) issues ­ essentially the equity implications of environmental degradation and regulation. This course provides a broad overview of the dynamic and contentious field of Environmental Justice. The course explores and critically analyzes philosophies, frameworks, and strategies underlying environmental justice movements, and is organized into five main sections: (1) frameworks and methods of analysis; (2) cases of environmental injustice; (3) community and state responses; and, (4) future trajectories and debates.

Empirical evidence will be examined regarding distributions of environmental quality and health, enforcement of regulations, access to resources to respond to environmental problems, and the broader political economy of decision-making around environmental and health issues. Case studies will cover: the siting of locally unwanted land uses (LULUs), public health issues, workplace health and safety concerns, impacts on Native American communities, impacts of international trade in wastes and hazardous jobs, transportation planning, and the long-term implications of genetic engineering.

The course seeks to prepare students to critically analyze environmental outcomes and processes, providing frameworks for evaluating the equity implications of environmental policies and programs, and distributions of environmental quality and environmental burdens. Research methods will be assessed throughout the course. Students will also analyze community and government responses to environmental injustices, and critically assess recent strategies to promote more ecologically sound and socially just practices.

This course is a graduate seminar and is designed for students to actively participate in discussions, and more importantly, to grapple with the issues presented in the readings. Students will be expected to read all of the assigned readings, to write short reaction papers to the readings each week, and to actively participate in class discussions. The course will also include guest lectures from local environmental organizations and government agencies. At least one field trip will be organized to analyze environmental justice problems and community responses in the Boston area.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

Students will be expected to:

1. Write weekly reaction papers. Students will write one-page reaction papers on the readings each week and email them to the class email list by Monday at noon each week. These reactions should include critiques, disagreements, questions, concerns, and thoughts on the most important aspects of the readings. Reaction papers will not be graded, but will be counted.

2. Submit an outline for a proposed term project. The outline will be due on March 16th, 2000.

3. Submit a bibliography of sources for the term project. The bibliography should represent a significant start on research for the term project. The bibliography will be due on April 20th, 2000.

4. Complete a term project. Students will choose one of two options for the term project, either:

(a) A traditional term paper on a current issue in environmental justice. This paper could focus on methodological questions, engaging the frameworks and tools of analysis discussed in the course, or involve research that supports a local EJ campaign.

(b) A web-based project that provides a detailed analysis and extensive resource list on one aspect of environmental justice. For instance, a student could develop a detailed web page on transportation and EJ issues, or on resources for community activists. Web projects will be added to a central EJ web page on MIT's server.

Students will meet with the professor at least once during the semester to discuss their plans for the term project. The term project will be due by 5 p.m. on May 11th, 2000. Late papers will not be accepted.

 

EVALUATION:

The course grade will be based on the following activities:

20% - Class participation

10% - Reaction papers

10% - Outline

10% - Bibliography

50% - Term project

 

REQUIRED TEXTS

Faber, Daniel (ed.), The Struggle for Ecological Democracy: Environmental Justice Movements in the United States, New York: The Guilford Press, 1998.

Bullard, Robert (ed.), Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice & Communities of Color, San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1994.

Foreman, Christopher H., The Promise and Peril of Environmental Justice, Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1998.

A course reader will include additional required readings for the class.

Readings will also be on reserve in Roach Library.

 

SCHEDULE OF TOPICS AND READINGS

Readings marked with an (*) are provided in the course reader.

Assignments are marked with an Ë

 

Feb. 1 - Introduction to the Course

No readings.

 

Feb. 3 - Overview of Environmental Justice Issues

Bullard, Robert, "Environmental Justice for All," Chapter 1 in R. Bullard (ed.), Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice & Communities of Color, San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1994.

(*) Motavalli, Jim, "Toxic Targets ­ Polluters that Dump on Communities of Color are Finally Being Brought to Justice," E ­ The Environmental Magazine, July-August, 1998.

(*) Lazarus, Richard, "Pursuing 'Environmental Justice': The Distributional Effects of Environmental Protection," Northwestern University Law Review, vol. 87, no. 3: 787-857, 1993.

 

I. FRAMEWORKS AND METHODS OF ANALYSIS

 

Feb. 8 ­ Frameworks of Analysis

(*) Gelobter, Michel, "Toward a Model of 'Environmental Discrimination,'" in Bryant and Mohai (eds.), Race and the Incidence of Environmental Hazards, Boulder: Westview Press, 1992.

Field, Rodger C., "Risk and Justice ­ Capitalist Production and the Environment," Chapter 3 in D. Faber (ed.), The Struggle for Ecological Democracy: Environmental Justice Movements in the United States, New York: The Guilford Press, 1998.

(*) Morello-Frosch, Rachel, "Discrimination and the Political Economy of Environmental Inequality," Critical Public Health, under review.

 

Feb. 10 ­ Frameworks of Analysis

Faber, Daniel, "The Struggle for Ecological Democracy and Environmental Justice," Introduction to D. Faber (ed.), The Struggle for Ecological Democracy: Environmental Justice Movements in the United States, New York: The Guilford Press, 1998.

(*) Harvey, David, "The Environment of Justice," in Justice and the Geography of Difference, Blackwell, 1996.

(*) Sandweiss, Stephen, "The Social Construction of Environmental Justice," in D. Camacho (ed.) Environmental Injustices, Political Struggles, Durham: Duke University Press, 1998.

 

Feb. 15 ­ Analyzing the Data

(*) Mohai, Paul and Bunyan Bryant, "Environmental Racism: Reviewing the Evidence," Chapter 13 in Bryant and Mohai (eds.) Race and the Incidence of Environmental Hazards, Boulder: Westview Press, 1992.

(*) Goldman, Benjamin, Not Just Prosperity ­ Achieving Sustainability with Environmental Justice, National Wildlife Federation, 1994.

Ë Sign up for meeting with Professor to discuss term project.

 

Feb. 17 ­ Debating the Data

(*) Oakes, John M., D. Anderton, and A. Anderson, "A Longitudinal Analysis of Environmental Equity in Communities with Hazardous Facilities," Social Science Research, vol. 25:125-148, 1996.

(*) Been, Vicki, "Locally Undesirable Land Uses in Minority Neighborhoods: Disproportionate Siting or Market Dynamics?" Yale Law Journal, vol. 103, no. 6: 1383-1421, 1994.

(*) Been, Vicki and Francis Gupta, "Coming to the Nuisance or Going to the Barrios? A Longitudinal Analysis of Environmental Justice Claims," Ecology Law Quarterly, vol. XXIV:1-56, 1997.

 

Feb. 24 ­ Environmental Racism Research

(*) Pulido, Laura, "A Critical Review of the Methodology of Environmental Racism Research," Antipode, vol. 28, no. 2:142-159, 1996.

(*) Pulido, Laura, An Archaeology of Environmental Racism in Los Angeles," Urban Geography, vol. 17, no. 5:419-439, 1996.

 

Feb. 29 ­ Theories of Justice

(*) Rawls, John, "Justice as Reciprocity," in S. Freeman (ed.) John Rawls ­ Collected Papers, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999.

(*) Miller, David, "Social Justice and Environmental Goods," in A. Dobson (ed.) Fairness and Futurity ­ Essays on Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

(*) Wenz, Peter, "Principles of Justice," Chapter 2 in Environmental Justice, State University Press of New York, 1988.

 

March 2 ­ The Law and Environmental Justice

(*) Weinberg, Philip, "Equal Protection," Chapter 1 in M. Gerrard (ed.) The Law of Environmental Justice, American Bar Association, 1999.

(*) Mank, Bradford, "Title VI," Chapter 2 in M. Gerrard (ed.) The Law of Environmental Justice, American Bar Association, 1999.

 

II. CASES OF ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE

 

March 7 ­ Land Use and Siting

(*) Goldman, Benjamin and Laura Fitton, Toxics Wastes and Race Revisited, Center for Policy Alternatives, 1994.

Robinson, Ronald, "West Dallas versus the Lead Smelter," Chapter 6 in R. Bullard (ed.) Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice & Communities of Color, San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1994.

Wright, Beverly, Pat Bryant, and Robert Bullard, "Coping with Poisons in Cancer Alley," Chapter 7 in R. Bullard (ed.) Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice & Communities of Color, San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1994.

 

March 9 ­ Health Issues

Guest Speaker: Russ Lopez, Boston University

(*) Institute of Medicine, "Establishing a Baseline," in Toward Environmental Justice ­ Research Education, and Health Policy Needs, Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1999.

Novotny, Patrick, "Popular Epidemiology and the Struggle for Community Health in the Environmental Justice Movement," Chapter 5 in D. Faber (ed.), The Struggle for Ecological Democracy: Environmental Justice Movements in the United States, New York: The Guilford Press, 1998.

(*) Brown, Phil and Edwin Mikkelsen, "Taking Control ­ Popular Epidemiology," Chapter 4 in No Safe Place, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

 

March 14 ­ Impacts on Communities

(*) Brown, Phil and Edwin Mikkelsen, "Town in Turmoil ­ History and Significance of the Woburn Cluster," Chapter 2 in No Safe Place, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

Haggerty, Michael, "Crisis at Indian Creek," Chapter 2 in R. Bullard (ed.) Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice & Communities of Color, San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1994.

(*) Karliner, Joshua, Alba Morales, and Dara O'Rourke, "The Barons of Bromide ­ The Corporate Forces Behind Toxic Poisoning & Ozone Depletion," The Ecologist, vol. 27, no. 3, May-June, 1997.

 

March 16 ­ Workplace Issues

Levenstein, Charles and John Wooding, "Dying for a Living ­ Workers, Production, and the Environment," Chapter 2 in D. Faber (ed.), The Struggle for Ecological Democracy: Environmental Justice Movements in the United States, New York: The Guilford Press, 1998.

(*) Olshansky, Barbara, "Controlling Exposures in the Workplace," Chapter 20 in M. Gerrard (ed.) The Law of Environmental Justice, pp.: 662-692, American Bar Association, 1999.

Ë Outline of term project due.

 

March 28 ­ Transportation

(*) Bullard, Robert and Glenn Johnson, "Just Transportation," Chapter 1 in R. Bullard and G; Johnson, Just Transportation ­ Dismantling Race and Class Barriers to Mobility, New Society Publishers, 1997.

(*) Chen, Don, "Linking Social Equity with Livable Communities," Chapter 3 in R. Bullard and G; Johnson, Just Transportation ­ Dismantling Race and Class Barriers to Mobility, New Society Publishers, 1997.

(*) Bullard, Robert, "Epilogue," in R. Bullard and G; Johnson, Just Transportation ­ Dismantling Race and Class Barriers to Mobility, New Society Publishers, 1997.

(*) Forkenbrock, David and Lisa Schweitzer, "Environmental Justice in Transportation Planning," APA Journal, Winter 1999, pp.:96-111.

 

March 30 ­ Native American Lands

Gedicks, Al, "Racism and Resource Colonization," Chapter 10 in D. Faber (ed.), The Struggle for Ecological Democracy: Environmental Justice Movements in the United States, New York: The Guilford Press, 1998.

Hall, Kathy, "Impacts of the Energy Industry on the Navajo and Hopi," Chapter 8 in R. Bullard (ed.) Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice & Communities of Color, San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1994.

(*) Skull Valley Goshute Tribe Executive Office, "Native Americans Have the Right to Make Their Own Land-Use Decisions," Chapter 5 in Environmental Justice ­ At Issue, San Diego: Greenhaven Press.

 

April 4 ­ Genetic Engineering

(*) Walker, Casey, "An Interview with Rich Hayes," Wild Duck Review, vol. V, no. 2, Summer 1999.

(*) Walker, Casey, "An Interview with Andrew Kimbrell," Wild Duck Review, vol. V, no. 2, Summer 1999.

(*) Hayes, Richard, "The Threat of the New Human Techno-Eugenics: An Overview," unpublished manuscript, August 1999.

(*) Kimbrell, Andrew, "Why Biotechnology and High-tech Agriculture Cannot Feed the World," The Ecologist, vol. 28. No. 5, September/October 1998.

 

April 6 ­ International Export of Hazards

(*) Clapp, Jennifer, "Global Hazards: The Export of Environmental Harm," unpublished manuscript, 1996.

(*) Asante-Duah, Kofi and Imre Nagy, "The Transboundary Shipments of Hazardous Wastes," Chapter 4 in International Trade in Hazardous Waste, New York: E & FN Spon, 1998.

(*) Alter, Harvey, "Halting the Trade in Recyclable Wastes Will Hurt Developing Countries," Chapter 9 in Environmental Justice ­ At Issue, San Diego: Greenhaven Press.

 

April 11 ­ Sweatshops and the Case of Nike

(*) O'Rourke, Dara, "Smoke from a Hired Gun: A Critique of Nike's Labor and Environmental Auditing in Vietnam as Performed by Ernst and Young," San Francisco: Transnational Resource and Action Center, 1997.

(*) O'Rourke, Dara and Garrett Brown, "Beginning to Just Do It: Current Workplace and Environmental Conditions at the Tae Kwang Vina Nike Shoe Factory in Vietnam," unpublished manuscript, March 14, 1999.

(*) Benjamin, Medea, "Nike: What's It All About?" unpublished manuscript, Global Exchange, 1999.

(*) Bissell, Trim, "Nike, Reebok Compete to Set Labor Rights Pace," unpublished manuscript, Campaign for Labor Rights, March 25, 1999.

 

III. COMMUNITY AND STATE RESPONSES

 

April 13 ­ Community Strategies

Guest Speaker: Ali Noorani, Greater Boston Urban Resources Program

(*) Szasz, Andrew, "The Toxics Movement: From NIMBYism to Radical Environmental Populism," Chapter 4 in Ecopopulism ­ Toxic Waste and the Movement for Environmental Justice, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994.

Moore, Richard and Louis Head, "Building a Net that Works: SWOP," Chapter 10 in R. Bullard (ed.) Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice & Communities of Color, San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1994.

Krauss, Celene, "Women of Color on the Front Line," Chapter 14 in R. Bullard (ed.) Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice & Communities of Color, San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1994.

 

April 20 ­ Community Strategies

Guest Speaker: Penn Loh, Alternatives for Communities and Environment

(*) Cole, Luke, "Empowerment as the Key to Environmental Protection: The Need for Environmental Poverty Law," Ecology Law Quarterly, vol. 19:619-683, 1992.

(*) Cole, Luke, "The Theory and Reality of Community-based Environmental Decision-making," Ecology Law Quarterly, vol. 25:733-756, 1999.

Ë Bibliography of research for term project due.

 

April 25 ­ Government Responses

Guest speaker: EPA Representative (TBD).

Executive Order 12898 ­ Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, February 11, 1994. (Printed as Appendix A in C. Foreman, The Promise and Peril of Environmental Justice, Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1998.)

(*) USEPA, Environmental Justice Strategy: Executive Order 12898, EPA/200-R-95-002, Washington, D.C., April 1995.

Also browse EPA's environmental justice page at: http://es.epa.gov/oeca/main/ej/index.html

 

April 27 ­ Evaluating Government EJ Policies

Foreman, Christopher, The Promise and Peril of Environmental Justice, Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1998.

(*) Block, Walter and Roy Whitehead, "The Unintended Consequences of Environmental Justice," Forensic Science International, vol. 100:57-67, 1999.

 

IV. FUTURE TRAJECTORIES AND DEBATES

May 2 ­ New EJ Visions and Strategies

Guest Speaker: Bill Shutkin, New Ecology, Inc. and MIT

Shutkin, Bill, The Land That Could Be, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000. (Will be available during the spring semester.)

 

May 4 ­ EJ and Sustainable Development

(*) Haughton, Graham, "Environmental Justice and the Sustainable City," Journal of Planning Education and Research, 18:233-243, 1999.

(*) O'Connor, James, "Is Sustainable Capitalism Possible?," in M. O'Connor (ed.) Is Capitalism Sustainable?, New York: The Guilford Press, 1994.

 

May 9 ­ The Future of Environmental Justice

(*) Goldman, Benjamin, "What is the Future of Environmental Justice?" Antipode, vol. 28:2, pp.:122-141, 1996.

(*) Fung, Archon and Dara O'Rourke, "Reinventing Environmental Regulation from the Grassroots Up: Explaining and Expanding the Success of the Toxics Release Inventory," Environmental Management, vol. 25, no. 2, pp.:115-127, 2000.

Ferris, Deeohn, "A Call for Justice and Equal Environmental Protection," Chapter 16 in R. Bullard (ed.) Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice & Communities of Color, San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1994.

 

May 11 ­ Wrapping Up

Ë Term Projects Due by 5:00 p.m.

 

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