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Michigan State University

Peace and Justice Studies: Environmental Justice/Racism

Related to MSU's Program on Peace and Justice Studies

Environmental Justice

Environmental justice or EJ is the concept that either environmental harms or access to environmental benefits are distributed disproportionately among different segments of our society. From the global ban on the 'dumping of hazardous wastes' on Third World countries, later addressed by the Basel Convention, to more local issues with the siting of landfills or potential hazards in poor communities or communities of color, burdens and benfits are not shared equally across all segments of the human family . If the unequal distributiuon is said to be based primarily on race, the term 'environmental racism' is often used. We also see the term 'environmental equity' used as a counterforce to the inequality recognized across our society.

Other EJ Research Guides

We all stand on the shoulders of others, here are some of the guides I consulted for inspiring this one.

MSU Libraries - By colleague, Jon Harrison, our previous environmental studies specialist.

Carelton College Library

John Jay College of Criminal Justice Library

North Carolina Central University School of Law - particularly good links to statutes and cases

Seattle University Library

Reference Works for Background

These are good places to get started with background on the issue as well as identifying additional sources and experts.

Encyclopedia of Environmental Issues (3 Vols.) GE 10 .E533 2000

Gale Virtual Reference Library - (ONLINE) - Provides access to the full text of subject focused, electronic encyclopedia articles, dictionaries and more.

Finding Journal Articles

Ecolex : A gateway to international environmental law. "Users can search using subject area, keyword, country, or date. The list of subjects includes, for example: climate/atmosphere; fresh water; marine environment; soils; forests; biodiversity; energy; protected areas; hazardous substances; and wastes. ECOLEX includes information on multilateral treaties; national legislation; European Union instruments; international "soft law" and related documents; law and policy literature; and judicial decisions."

Environment Complete (EBSCO) : Offers deep coverage in applicable areas of agriculture, ecosystem ecology, energy, renewable energy sources, natural resources, marine & freshwater science, geography, pollution & waste management, environmental technology, environmental law, public policy, social impacts, urban planning, and more. Environment Complete contains more than 1,957,000 records from more than 1,700 domestic and international titles going back to the 1940s (including 1,125 active core titles) as well as more than 120 monographs. The database also contains full text for more than 680 journals, including many of the most used journals in the discipline, such as Environment (back to 1975), Ecologist, Conservation Biology, etc. Additionally, Environment Complete provides full text for 120 monographs, such as Encyclopedia of World Environmental History (3 volumes), Advances in Water Treatment & Environmental Management, etc.

Ethnic NewsWatch- Ethnic NewsWatch is an interdisciplinary, bilingual (English and Spanish) and comprehensive full text database of the newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press. Designed to provide the "other side of the story," ENW titles offer additional viewpoints from those proffered by the mainstream press. Coverage begins in 1990.

Expanded Academic ASAP (1980 to date).   Provides coverage of 3,000 indexed and 1,900 full-text titles in a wide variety of disciplines including: social science journals, humanities journals, science and technology journals, national news periodicals, general interest magazines, newswires, The New York Times and many others. More than 1,400 journals are peer reviewed, and more than 20 years of backfile coverage are included. 

GreenFILE (EBSCO) : Offers well-researched but accessible information covering all aspects of human impact on the environment. Its collection of scholarly, government and general-interest titles include content on the environmental effects of individuals, corporations and local/national governments, and what can be done on each level to minimize negative impact. Topics covered include global warming, green building, pollution, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, recycling, and more. GreenFILE is multidisciplinary by nature and draws on the connections between the environment and a variety of disciplines such as agriculture, education, law, health and technology. The database provides indexing and abstracts for approximately 295,000 records, as well as Open Access full text for more than 4,600 records. (1973-Present)

GREENR : Gale's new eco-focused online portal to information on the environment, energy and sustainable development. By using GREENR, students and faculty can find global news and views, video, background information, statistics and more concerning environmental issues. Updated daily

International Index to Black Periodicals (IIBP) (online), see Black Studies Center.  Chadwick Healy.  Full-text coverage of 40 core Black Studies periodicals (1998 to the present), along with indexing and abstracting for over 150 scholarly and popular journals, newspapers and newsletters from the United States, Africa and the Caribbean (1902 to the present).

JSTOR.  Searchable database of the full text of journals covering a wide array of academic topics including anthropology, Asian Studies, ecology, economics, education, finance, history, literature, mathematics, philosophy, political science, population studies, and sociology.  Years available vary with each title, but the most recent issues available in JSTOR will normally be 4-5 years old due to embargoes from publishers.

LexisNexis Academic : Provides access to full-text news, business, and legal publications, using a variety of flexible search options. One of the most heavily used databases in higher education. 

Periodicals Archive Online (1770-1995) is a database of millions of articles published in the arts, humanities and social sciences, across more than 300 years, by Proquest. Covers more than 3,000 journals.

Project Muse.  This database provides access to two hundred humanities and social science journals from 29 not-for-profit, scholarly publishers.  Years offered by each journal vary but usually are only the most recent issues. Muse is a unique collaboration between the participating publishers and the Milton S. Eisenhower Library at the Johns Hopkins University.

Proquest Research Library (indexing: 1971 to date; full-text: 1991 to date).  Provides online access to an extensive collection of published material. You can search for information in thousands of different journals, periodicals, dissertations, newspapers, and magazines. Complete articles -- in full text, page image, or UMI's unique Text+Graphics format -- are available for many of the most popular and important sources. Provides full text coverage of over 400 journals. However, full text coverage varies by date from journal to journal.

Social Sciences Full Text (EBSCOHost)

Wilson OmniFile Full Text Select (1994 to date).    Wilson Select provides full text coverage to over 2000 journals. However, full text coverage varies by date from journal to journal.

Google Scholar, current.  Google has created this database to speed location of reports and journal articles available on the Internet. Google is also working hard on facilitating links to subscription resources offered by university libraries. However not all the links work yet. So if you find an interesting article or resources via this database, be sure to check whether it is available via the MSU Libraries electronic or print collections.

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Julia Ezzo

Selected Websites

Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice - leading group in the state tacking issues of environmental justice and racism.

Earth Justice  - Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment.

Environmental Justice Geographic Assessment Tool - An online mapping tool to locate facilities by a city, county, state, ZIP code, watershed, EPA region, latitude/longitude, facility or address.

Environmental Justice Resource Center - Clark University in Atlanta has been on the forefront of this issue for decades

Environmental Justice/Environmental Racism - good resource list

U.S. EPA Environmental Justice - good place to start for US focused work, especially as deals with law and enforcement issues.

Michigan State University