Environmental Justice

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental Justice (EJ) “is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.

Over the last 5 years, EPAP students have demonstrated a growing interest and awareness of environmental justice issues. To help students identify courses across campus that focus on these issues, we created this resource.

While EPAP does not currently have a major track labeled Environmental Justice, the Conservation Management and City and Regional Planning tracks include courses satisfying track requirements that either focus explicitly on EJ or weave EJ themes throughout their material.

Another option for EPAP students interested in EJ is to do the Integrative Policy track that allows you to pick four upper division courses around a theme(pre-approval by the EPAP master advisor is required). A sample set of courses for an EJ theme would be: AAS 176, AMS 101G, CRD 149, and ANT 103. This example IP track would be combining EJ issues with conservation management. Another four courses could combine EJ with pollution issues or EJ with urban planning.

Courses (alphabetical order):

AMS 101G – Special Topics In American Studies with Julie Sze

Course Description (subject to change):

This course examines the concept of environmental justice through interdisciplinary lenses. We begin by examining different attempts to define “environmental injustice” and “environmental racism.” We focus on the complex frameworks that analyze environmental issues through the lens of social justice and human inequality, specifically categories of race, class, gender, nature and nation. We will focus on our own home terrain, California- in particular, in the Central Valley, and through our shared membership in the University of California and UC Davis communities.

We use many different approaches and critical thinking tools to examining the topic of environmental racism and environmental justice: historical and social scientific approaches, including empirical documentation of the problem, examination of the roots and consequences of environmental racism, and the social movements that have arisen in the last two decades to combat it. In addition to environmental racism, we examine how gender, class, and place impact the production and experience of environmental injustices.  We also utilize humanities approaches to representations of environmental injustice, including literary, philosophical and cultural frameworks.

Through selected case studies, we examine a number of topics and questions. Some of these include: the advantages and drawbacks of current systems of production and consumption, the question of who bears the burdens and who enjoys the benefits of our current environmental and social systems and what kinds of alternatives are available. Why do some have access to a clean and safe environment, and not others? Who decides and why?  What can be done?

ANT/ESP 101 - Ecology, Nature, and Society

Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): ANT 001 or ANT 002 or ESP 030 or EVE 100 or BIS 101 recommended. Interdisciplinary study of diversity and change in human societies, using frameworks from anthropology, evolutionary ecology, history, archaeology, psychology, and other fields. Topics include population dynamics, subsistence transitions, family organization, disease, economics, warfare, politics, and resource conservation. (Same course as ESP 101.) GE credit: SS, WC, WE.

ANT 103 – Indigenous Peoples and Natural Resource Conservation

Lecture—3 hours; discussion—1 hour. Prerequisite: course 2 or Geology 1 or Environmental Science and Policy 30 recommended. Integration of the interests of resident and indigenous peoples with the conservation of natural resources and ecosystems, using case study examples from both the developing and the developed world. Not open for credit to students who have completed course 121N. (Former course 121N.) Offered in alternate years. GE credit: SocSci | ACGH, DD, OL, SS, WC, WE.—Mulder

ANT 104N—Cultural Politics of the Environment (4)

Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): ANT 002 recommended. Political economy of environmental struggles. Relationship between social inequality (based on race, class and/or gender) and ecological degradation. Articulation of local peoples, national policy, and the international global economy in the contestation over the use of environmental resources. Not open for credit to students who have completed course 134N. (Former course 134N.). GE credit: ACGH, DD, SS, WC, WE.

ANT 131—Ecology and Politics (4)

Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): ANT 002 recommended. Analysis of the complex interactions between ecological dynamics and political processes employing the emerging approach of political ecology. Case studies of environmental degradation (e.g., desertification, logging, mineral extraction, petroleum, water) from various cultural and geographic regions. GE credit: SS.

CRD 149 – Community Development Perspectives on Environmental Justice

Lecture/discussion—4 hours; extensive writing or discussion; project; term paper. Environmental justice social movements; inequitable distribution of pollution on low-income communities of color; histories, policies, and innovations associated environmental justice movements in the United States and around the world. Offered in alternate years. GE credit: SocSci, Div, Wrt | DD, OL, SS, VL, WE.—S. (S.) London

CRD 152 – Community Development

Lecture—4 hours. Prerequisite: course 1 or 151 or Sociology 2 or Anthropology 2 or Asian American Studies 100 or Chicana/o Studies 132 or African American & African Studies 101. Introduction to principles and strategies of community organizing and development. Examination of non-profit organizations, citizen participation, approaches to reducing poverty, community needs assessment, and regional development strategies. GE credit: SocSci, Wrt | ACGH, DD, SS, WC, WE.—F. (F.) Brinkley

CRD 156 – Community Economic Development

Lecture—4 hours; laboratory—2 hours. Prerequisite: course 152 or Plant Sciences 21 or Engineering Computer Sciences 15; consent of instructor. How low income communities work together to improve their economic well-being, increase their control over their economic lives, and build community power and decision-making. Includes techniques to analyze community economic potential and identification of appropriate intervention tools. Group project. GE credit: SocSci | QL, SS, WE.—W. (W.)

ENL 184—Literature and the Environment (4)

Discussion/Laboratory—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Prerequisite(s): ENL 003 or UWP 001 or UWP 001V or UWP 001Y. Historical and/or thematic survey of topics in writing about the environment. GE credit: AH, WE.

ESP 172—Public Lands Management (4)

Lecture—3 hour(s); Discussion—1 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): ECN 001A recommended. Investigation of alternative approaches to public lands management by Federal and state agencies. The role each agency's legislation plays in determining the range of resource allocations. GE credit: ACGH, SS.

ETX 110 – Toxic Tragedies and Their Impact on Society

Lecture—2 hours. Prerequisite: Biological Sciences 10 or the equivalent or consent of instructor; Chemistry 118A recommended. Examination of toxic tragedies, their origins, consequences, and effects on toxic regulation. GE credit: SciEng, Wrt | OL, SE, SL, WE.—W. (W.) Rice

HIS 172—American Environmental History (4)

Lecture—3 hour(s); Term Paper. American history through connections between people and nature, pre-Columbus to climate change. Native America; conquest; epidemics; extinctions; industrialization; pollution; environmentalism; climate change and global warming; ideas of nature. GE credit: ACGH, AH, SS, WE.

NAS 123—Native Foods and Farming of the Americas (4)

Lecture/Discussion—4 hour(s). Crop domestication, agrodiversity, and cuisines of the Americas. Cultural and social history of native American foods like maize, potatoes, quinoa, chocolate, peppers, beans, avocados, etc. Discussion of socio-economic, environmental, legal challenges facing indigenous and peasant farmers today. GE credit: DD, OL, SE, SS, WC.

NAS 161 – California Indian Environmental Policy 1

Lecture/discussion—4 hours; term paper. Prerequisite: course 1 or course 10 or consent of instructor. Contemporary California Indian environmental policy issues, with a focus on water, minerals, contamination, and alliance-building. Issues will be placed within historical and political context, drawing on theories of Native environmental ethics, environmental justice, and Federal Indian law. Offered in alternate years. GE credit: ACGH, DD, SS, WE.—Middleton

NAS 162 – California Indian Environmental Policy 2

Lecture/discussion—4 hours; term paper. Contemporary California Indian environmental policy issues, with a focus on planning, site protection, and collaborative structures. Issues will be placed within historical and political context, drawing on theories of Native environmental ethics, environmental justice, and Federal Indian law. Offered in alternate years. GE credit: SocSci | ACGH, DD, SS, WE.—Middleton

PLS 162—Urban Ecology (3)

Lecture/Discussion—3 hour(s). Prerequisite(s): Course in general or plant ecology such as PLB 117, ESP 100, EVE 101, EVE 120 or PLS 163. Application of fundamental concepts and approaches in landscape and ecosystem ecology to urban ecosystems. Ecological and social drivers and responses. Landscape heterogeneity, nutrient dynamics, invasive species, altered hydrology and climate, and pollution. Discussion of primary literature. GE credit: SE, SL.

POL 100 – Local Government and Politics

Lecture—3 hours; term paper or discussion—1 hour. Prerequisite: course 1 recommended. Politics and government of local communities in the United States, including cities, counties and special districts. Emphasizes sources and varieties of community conflict, legislative and executive patterns, expertise, decision making and the politics of structure. Observation of local governing boards. Offered irregularly. GE credit: SocSci, Wrt | ACGH, SS, WE.

SAS 009—Crisis in the Environment (3)

Lecture—3 hour(s). Explores contemporary environmental issues by examining the causes, effects and solutions to a wide range of environmental problems facing the global ecosystem. Integrated discussion of political, societal and economic impact linkages with environmental problems. GE credit: SE, SS, WE.

SOC 145A – Sociology of Third World Development

Lecture—3 hours; discussion—1 hour. Prerequisite: course 1, 2, or 3 recommended. Introduction to theories and contemporary issues in the sociology of development. Topics such as urbanization, rural/agrarian change, class, status groups, international division of labor, sectoral shifts, international capital, informal economy, gender, and political processes are analyzed within a comparative-historical framework. Offered irregularly. GE credit: SocSci, Div, Wrt | SS, WC.

SOC 160—Sociology of the Environment (4)

Lecture—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Prerequisite(s): SOC 001, SOC 002, or SOC 003 recommended. Production, consumption, and urban expansion. Basic social logics surrounding current problems of resource scarcity (environmental extractions) and excess wastes (environmental additions). Ways that society can change and re-organize itself to become more environmentally conscious and hence ecologically sustainable. GE credit: ACGH, DD, SS, WC.

Study Abroad Program

Environmental Justice in Indigenous Ecuador

Instructor:  Stefano Varese

Courses: Native American Studies (NAS) 120. Ethnopolitics of South American Indians (4 units) &  NAS 198. Directed Group Study.

Program webpage: http://studyabroad.ucdavis.edu/programs/summerabroad/ecuador.html

Program Overview

This program examines the historical development and current situation of the rural indigenous communities of the Andes and the Amazon of Ecuador with special attention to issues of environmental and social justice, and human rights. Through lectures, seminar discussions and fieldwork, the program underscores the impact that economic and political factors have on the process of indigenous communities’ cultural adaptation and their basic human rights. The program emphasizes three indigenous people and regions of Ecuador that are threatened by mineral and oil extraction: the Northwestern cloud forest of Mindo and Intag Valley; the Andean Kichwa and Karanki communities of Otavalo and San Clemente; and the Huaorani people of the Shiripuno river in the Yasuní bio-reserve and the Kichwa autonomous territory of Sarayaku on the Bobonaza river. Students will develop individual research/creative projects and will have the opportunity to interact with indigenous Andean and Amazonian people with whom they will exchange and share knowledge, creativity, and intercultural experience.