road closed

In recent years, scholars, journalists, and activists have drawn attention to the sexist, racist, classist, and homophobic attitudes that surround the U.S. environmental movement. Though the movement’s problematic aspects may come as a surprise to some, the exclusionary nature of mainstream contemporary environmentalism is no accident. The crusade to address the nation’s environmental issues was designed this way from the outset.

plastic bottles

Whether or not you follow chemical regulations, you’ve probably heard of PFAS, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a class of over 4,700 synthetic compounds. While many have discussed the risks of PFAS for human health, regulation is lacking in the United States to limit its use. So, what are the risks posed by PFAS and what policy measures might prove effective in mitigating their potential harm? This two-part blog will explore the answers to these questions.

Earth basketball

When I was a philosophy student at Princeton in the 1970s, our department was rated number one nationally because of its stars in analytic theory. But the hottest department was Harvard’s, where two professors who were office neighbors held opposing viewpoints on social philosophy and wrote bestsellers — an anomaly for such scholarly works.

laptop

Public meetings are a fundamental component of many policymaking and planning processes, including the natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) process that aims to restore the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and the permitting and environmental review procedures for individual projects.

Over the past several years, quiet initiatives by private actors to cut carbon emissions, adopt climate-smart agriculture practices, and increase renewable energy have grown in scope and ambition. These private efforts are not mandated by public law, yet collectively they take on the attributes and functions of a governance system that could be vital to societal decarbonization. But according to ELI Visiting Scholar Lou Leonard, this system “is at a delicate moment, perhaps having flown too far, too fast.

drawing of person in web meeting

I have been deposed dozens of times over the course of my career as an expert in forensic history and environmental cost analysis. Due to COVID-19, however, I recently sat for my first remote deposition wherein all parties (myself, defending attorney, deposing attorney, court reporter, and observers) were in different locations across the country and were connected to the deposition using a digital platform.

Uranium mine

Indigenous communities in the Southwestern United States have been battling the impacts of uranium mining since the early 1940s. The geology of the Colorado Plateau was found to be rich in the radioactive mineral and drew mining to the area. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sought uranium to develop nuclear weapons during the Cold War, which fueled the interest of mining companies that opened uranium mines and mills on and around indigenous land.

virus mask over the globe

With the sweeping and difficult changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, including social distancing and an economic downturn with record-high unemployment, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have plummeted globally. Reductions in emissions for the year are projected to be between 4% and 7% globally and between 6.7% and 11% in the United States.

confined cows

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting a variety of industries, from travel to retail to restaurants. But perhaps the hardest-hit are meat and poultry processing plants, which have been experiencing outbreaks throughout the United States. In April, President Trump issued an Executive Order declaring these plants “critical infrastructure” to make sure they stay open, and the number of cases in these plants continued to rise in the days and weeks that followed. According to the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, as of June 15 there have been over 25,000 reported positive cases tied to meatpacking facilities in at least 235 plants in 33 states, and at least 90 reported worker deaths at 39 plants in 24 states.

NIH Toxmap screenshot

To address environmental inequity, we first need to understand where inequity exists geographically. Maps help model our reality and are a useful tool for locating and addressing environmental inequity. The power of maps in environmental justice was first revealed in 1987 in Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States, published by the Commission on Racial Justice.