ociety cannot grow and develop without producing waste. As we produce more and different kinds of waste, we often do not know its long-term effects upon human health or how or where to dispose of it. A disproportionate amount of that waste finds its final resting place in people of color and low-income communities. In addition, people of color often live in areas where they are disproportionately exposed to polluted air, water, and land.
The School of Natural Resources and Environment has a long history of environmental justice research. In 1990, professors Bunyan Bryant and Paul Mohai published one of the first major scholarly books examining the links between race, class and environmental hazards. Over the past decade issues of justice, equity, and racism have become significant developments in scholarly research and in the environmental justice movement. Researchers, scholars, and members of the general public are beginning to see that environmental issues are not just about problems of wilderness in isolated areas, but also about the conditions of the inner cities. However, a number of important questions continue to be raised for examination: What are the forces responsible for the problems of environmental injustice? What is the interaction of race, class and political power? What are the effects of specific environmental hazards on the health of local communities? Through scholarly research, retrieval/dissemination conferences, and policy briefings, we will strive to find answers to the questions above.