Equity and Environmental justice (EEJ) is an approach to social-ecological systems that centers the experiences, knowledges, and histories of marginalized communities with regards to their access to land, healthy ecological communities, the goods ecosystems generate, and disproportionate exposure to environmental contaminants and hazards. Some EEJ scholars co-produce knowledge and action in collaboration with communities, organizations and institutions. Others devise research protocols and principles that confront white supremacy and heteropatriarchy in academia and practitioner communities. Still others focus on structural inequities and work with political and economic tools to distribute environmental goods and services more fairly. Faculty working in this area draw on diverse scholarly traditions ranging from community-engaged methods, critical epistemology, critical race theory, ecology, economics, feminism, Indigenous studies, labor studies, political ecology, public policy, queer theory, science and technology studies, and social movements.

Faculty active in this research area:

Please see individual faculty web pages for more about their work in this area.

Related SMEA courses:

  • SMEA/ENVIR/JSIS 103 Society and the Oceans (NW/I&S)
  • SMEA 201 Climate Governance: How Individuals, Communities, NGOs, Firms, and Governments Can Solve the Climate Crisis (NW/I&S, DIV)
  • SMEA 430: Development and the Environment (I&S, DIV)
  • SMEA/ENVIR/JSIS 433. Root Causes of Environmental Degradation in the Tropics (NW/I&S)
  • SMEA 485: Pacific Recreation and Tourism Issues (NW/I&S, DIV)
  • SMEA 550: Critical and Imaginative Restoration Ecologies
  • SMEA 550: Political Ecology and Environmental Justice
  • SMEA 550: Environmental Justice and Political Ecology Field Course
  • SMEA 550: Justice, Sovereignty, and Equity Along the Shore
  • SMEA 550: Ecopoetics Along Shorelines
  • SMEA 550/AIS 475: Indigenous Approaches to Climate Adaptation
  • SMEA 550/AIS 475: Indigenous Sovereignty and Environmental Justice

Examples of what MMA students do in this research area:

  • Critically evaluate how environmental change and natural resource policies impact diverse communities
  • Examine the impacts of structural inequalities (i.e. racism, colonialism, class, and gender) on communities’ access to natural resources, land, and their exposure to pollution and natural hazards
  • Work collaboratively to support the intergenerational ecological relationships and desired environmental futures of diverse communities
  • Co-produce knowledge to counteract socio-ecological inequality and support capacity building
    Assess effectiveness of policy instruments addressing environmental racism and inequity

Examples of related MMA student theses:

  • Arbow, Tressa. 2019. Washington Maritime Blue and the Blue Economy: using diversity and inclusion to advance social justice in the maritime industry
  • Cruz, Angela. 2019. Gender Mainstreaming and Fisheries in USAID: Barriers and Policy Recommendations
  • Currier, Cori. 2019. Spaces for people and salmon along restored urban shorelines: a critical reflective analysis

Examples of related MMA student capstones:

  • van Duivenbode, Zoe. 2019. Capstone: Co-production of climate change education materials with English as a second language communities in King County, WA.
  • Maher, Susannah; Rose, Deborah; Stanfield, Ian. 2020. Capstone: Restoring Groundwater and Salmon with the Help of Beavers and Bulldozers in the Mid-Klamath Basin, California.

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