IS 202: Environmental Justice
Environmental justice is an issue, a perspective, a program area and a goal, depending on one’s perspective and place. In all cases, the term reflects a growing concern that environmental goods and bads may not be distributed in a just manner across peoples, societies, classes and countries
Individuals engaged in research, policy and activism related to environmental justice base their positions on both empirical observation and received theories of justice. Thus, while much of the debate in the area of environmental concerns whether or not observed differences in environmental quality exist in patterns that reflect racial or economic characteristics, an equally great amount of ink has been spilled debating whether observed differences reflect a just distribution. Justice, like beauty, appears to be in the eye of the beholder.
Participants in this class will engage in a critical examination of the various themes and disciplines that inform our concepts of environmental justice. The objective of this endeavor is for each participant (1) to develop her or his own informed view of what would constitute a just distribution of environmental quality, with an understanding of those theories of justice that inform that view, (2) to become familiar with the present distribution of environmental quality across peoples and societies, and (3) to understand and appreciate those diverse voices which inform the environmental justice debate today.