The Environmental Justice Reader

Politics, Poetics, and Pedagogy

Joni Adamson (Author), Mei Mei Evans (Author), Rachel Stein (Author)
Paperback ($29.95), Ebook ($29.95) Buy
From the First National People of Color Congress on Environmental Leadership to WTO street protests of the new millennium, environmental justice activists have challenged the mainstream movement by linking social inequalities to the uneven distribution of environmental dangers. Grassroots movements in poor communities and communities of color strive to protect neighborhoods and worksites from environmental degradation and struggle to gain equal access to the natural resources that sustain their cultures.

This book examines environmental justice in its social, economic, political, and cultural dimensions in both local and global contexts, with special attention paid to intersections of race, gender, and class inequality. The first book to link political studies, literary analysis, and teaching strategies, it offers a multivocal approach that combines perspectives from organizations such as the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice and the International Indigenous Treaty Council with the insights of such notable scholars as Devon Peña, Giovanna Di Chiro, and Valerie Kuletz, and also includes a range of newer voices in the field.

This collection approaches environmental justice concerns from diverse geographical, ethnic, and disciplinary perspectives, always viewing environmental issues as integral to problems of social inequality and oppression. It offers new case studies of native Alaskans' protests over radiation poisoning; Hispanos' struggles to protect their land and water rights; Pacific Islanders' resistance to nuclear weapons testing and nuclear waste storage; and the efforts of women employees of maquiladoras to obtain safer living and working environments along the U.S.-Mexican border.

The selections also include cultural analyses of environmental justice arts, such as community art and greening projects in inner-city Baltimore, and literary analyses of writers such as Jimmy Santiago Baca, Linda Hogan, Barbara Neely, Nez Perce orators, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and Karen Yamashita—artists who address issues such as toxicity and cancer, lead poisoning of urban African American communities, and Native American struggles to remove dams and save salmon. The book closes with a section of essays that offer models to teachers hoping to incorporate these issues and texts into their classrooms. By combining this array of perspectives, this book makes the field of environmental justice more accessible to scholars, students, and concerned readers.


"Brings environmental issues home and expands on ideas about justice with hope and possibilities for change." —Voices from the Earth

"This diverse collection of interdisciplinary readings offers a sense of the breadth of the evolving environmental justice movement. . . . The editors weave a disparity of personal voices into a narrative that builds on previous works on environmental inequity and speaks of the realities of the political aspects of environmental versus corporate issues, analyzes literature for environmental justice concerns, and shares stories of the difficulties involved in teaching, informing, and advocating for this multidimensional cause. Recommended for all levels." —Choice

"Offers a realistic and fresh look at the interlocked problems and problem-solving approaches to exploitation of land and of disenfranchised people. Although introducing the global scope of the problem, it also shows that communities working to solve environmental problems develop new skills, creativity, and powerful voices." —Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society"

A valuable contribution . . . The closing chapters . . . will also be helpful for the next generation of environmental justice humanities scholars as they look to achieve the delicate balance of authenticity of voice and the artistic expression of that voice." —Environment

"This reader is, more than anything else, an effort to counter fear and uncertainty. It portrays activists winning battles, artists inspiring children, teachers begetting new activists. In the process, it takes the edges of the issue of environmental racism and stretches them. . . . This reader's nineteen essays are not restricted to any one group or to the United States only, and include many fresh and diverse voices. That is its strength." —Electronic Green Journal
The Environmental Justice Reader
405 Pages 6 x 9
Published: November 2002Paperback ISBN: 9780816522071
Published: February 2022Ebook ISBN: 9780816547852

For Authors

The University of Arizona Press publishes the work of leading scholars from around the globe. Learn more about submitting a proposal, preparing your final manuscript, and publication.



The University of Arizona Press is proud to share our books with readers, booksellers, media, librarians, scholars, and instructors. Join our email Newsletter. Request reprint licenses, information on subsidiary rights and translations, accessibility files, review copies, and desk and exam copies.


Support the Press

Support a premier publisher of academic, regional, and literary works. We are committed to sharing past, present, and future works that reflect the special strengths of the University of Arizona and support its land-grant mission.