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GEOG415: Environmental Justice

Module convenor: Gordon Walker

Module Aims

  • An understanding of core principles and concepts of environmental justice
  • An understanding of the evolution of environmental justice discourse, politics and policy making in the US, UK and other parts of the world
  • An ability to critically evaluate evidence of patterns of distributional environmental inequality and their causation and claims made for environmental (in)justice at local through to global scales
  • An understanding of theoretical and practical issues of procedural (in)justice in the context of public participation in environmental decision-making
  • An ability to evaluate and categorise arguments about justice in climate change debates

Course Approach

This module critically examines environmental justice as a new agenda and discourse for environmental policy and politics. It considers how the environment and the practices of environmental management have equity and justice implications for different social groups and the research, policy debates and political action that have focused on questions of both distributive and procedural justice.

The module is international in scope considering experience in the US, UK and Europe and environmental and risk issues that operate across local to global scales. You will be encouraged to think critically and creatively about questions at the forefront of current political, policy and academic agenda.

Topics Covered

  • Environmental Justice: health, well being and social difference
  • Environmental Justice in the USA: framing, politics and policy
  • Globalising Environmental Justice
  • Claim Making and Concepts of Justice
  • Who suffers, who benefits?: Distributive Justice and Environmental Inequality
  • Case Studies (student presentations)
  • Environmental Justice in Policy and Environmental Management
  • Fairness in Decision Making: Procedural Justice
  • Justice, Fairness and Climate Change


Two 2500 word essays.

Indicative Readings

  • Walker G (2011) Environmental Justice: Concepts, Evidence and Politics (London, Routledge)
  • Agyeman J, Bullard R and Evans B (2003) Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World (Earthscan, London)
  • Camancho D E (ed) 1998 Environmental injustices, political struggles: race, class and the environment, (Duke University Press, Durham and London)
  • Low, N. and Gleeson, B. (1998) Justice, Society and Nature: an exploration of political ecology (London, Routledge)
  • Scholsberg D (2007) Defining Environmental Justice: theories, movements and nature (Oxford, OUP)

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