environmental justice
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2022 ◽  
pp. 194277862110614
Lindsey Dillon

In From the Inside Out: The Fight for Environmental Justice within Government Agencies (MIT Press, 2019), Jill Harrison offers a nuanced study of why U.S. state agencies fail at implementing robust environmental justice (EJ) policies. Through a rigorous interview and ethnographic based methodology Harrison details the discourses, ideologies, and everyday practices and through which government agency staff, daily, undermine and even outright reject EJ policies and programs. The book is a richly empirical study that makes valuable contributions to academic and activist understandings of the government's failure to respond meaningfully to environmental injustices, and offers specific recommendations for how to reform government agencies. It is a timely monograph as EJ advocates seek to reimagine government agencies in the wake of the Trump administration, and in the context of an expanded public consciousness of racism following the killing of George Floyd and subsequent uprisings during the summer of 2020.

2022 ◽  
Vol 41 (4) ◽  
pp. 227-229
Thomas Klikauer ◽  
Meg Young

Camila H. Alvarez

AbstractCommunities of color and poor neighborhoods are disproportionately exposed to more air pollution—a pattern known as environmental injustices. Environmental injustices increase susceptibility to negative health outcomes among residents in affected communities. The structural mechanisms distributing environmental injustices in the USA are understudied. Bridging the literatures on the social determinants of health and environmental justice highlights the importance of the environmental conditions for health inequalities and sheds light on the institutional mechanisms driving environmental health inequalities. Employing a critical quantitative methods approach, we use data from an innovative state racism index to argue that systematic racialized inequalities in areas from housing to employment increase outdoor airborne environmental health risks in neighborhoods. Results of a multilevel analysis in over 65,000 census tracts demonstrate that tracts in states with higher levels of state-level Black–white gaps report greater environmental health risk exposure to outdoor air pollution. The state racism index explains four-to-ten percent of county- and state-level variation in carcinogenic risk and noncarcinogenic respiratory system risks from outdoor air toxics. The findings suggest that the disproportional exposure across communities is tied to systematic inequalities in environmental regulation and other structural elements such as housing and incarceration. Structural racism is an environmental justice issue.

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