Environmental justice is too often interpreted as a state rather than a process. This can lead to erroneous conclusions about the role of race and privilege in the distribution of environmental disamenities. Toxic facilities are concentrated disproportionately in Latino neighborhoods in Los Angeles and in white neighborhoods in Baltimore. However, these seemingly contradictory results are both the legacies of decades of racist practices and white privilege. Explanation in environmental justice research should therefore focus on fairness of process in addition to outcome. Promising new avenues for research can build on theories, data, and methods from other fields and approaches, including land use law, industrial and housing location theory, hazards and vulnerability, political ecology, public health, and ecology. Environmental justice research should turn some attention to the distributive and procedural justice of environmental amenities, social variables beyond race and class, and analyses at the household scale. Finally, environmental justice should be heralded for its ability to humanize science as a galvanizing force for change.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis