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):

AAS 176 – The Politics of Resources

Lecture/discussion—4 hours. Prerequisite: course 12 or 110. Limited enrollment. Examination of the ways in which the processes of the extraction, purification and use of natural resources and the complex regimes of valuation and commodification they (re)produce lead to cooperation and conflict in contemporary Africa and beyond. GE credit: SocSci | SS, WC.—S. (S.) Adebanwi

AAS 177 – Politics of Life in Africa

Lecture/discussion—4 hours. Existing (in)capacities in the structures of state and society in Africa for people to live well. Topics include institutions and practices that define state and civil society encounters in Africa; democracy, ethnicity, economic crisis, religion, citizenship, etc. Offered in alternate years. GE credit: ArtHum or SocSci | AH or SS, WC.—(W.) Adebanwi

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 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

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.)

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

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

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.

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.

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.