environmental justice

How Can Cities Ensure EV Charging Accessibility for Lower-Income Drivers?

Watsonville, California as a Case Study for Policymakers

California’s ambitious goal to end the sale of internal combustion engine passenger vehicles by 2035 will require addressing the challenges faced by lower- and moderate-income drivers in accessing battery-powered electric vehicles (EVs). Chief among these concerns is their need to have a convenient and affordable place to charge the vehicles. Currently these residents too often …

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Dr. King, Community, and Climate

 Climate policy turns on an issue highlighted by Dr. King: Whose suffering counts?

“A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.” Those words are from a 1967 speech delivered at Riverside Church by Dr. …

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Inequality Today: Unfinished Work

The first step in addressing the problem is to be clear about the facts.

More than a half century after Martin Luther King’s death, his work is still unfinished.  Sadly, despite his efforts and those of many others, inequality remains a reality along multiple, interrelated dimensions: race, income, and geography.   Inequality is not merely economic; it involves differences in health and life expectancy — and in exposure to pollution …

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The Climate Crisis, the Tribes, and the IRA

Biden’s signature climate law spotlighted the need to support tribal responses to climate change.

Five hundred and thirty-one years ago today, Christopher Columbus went ashore at Guanahaní, an island in the Bahamas. That date marked the beginning of an era of European settlement and colonialism, accompanied by widespread destruction of existing American societies. Today, Native Americans communities face another crisis: climate change.  Many tribes are at high risk from …

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Can We Use Regulation to Reduce Inequality?

Contrary to some, I think the answer is yes. And here’s how we can do it.

Inequality is a burning issue in our society but plays only a limited role in the design of regulations.  In an article that came out a week ago, I try to work through questions about how economic and racial inequality can be integrated into rule-making. In terms of economic inequality, the current system already has …

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Food Policy: A Reply to Dan Farber

Earlier this week on this blog, Dan Farber made the excellent point that although the average American is neither malnourished nor obese, both persist as significant problems revealing deep failures in our food system. But his juxtaposition of statistics regarding obesity with those regarding malnourishment reflects a common misunderstanding of malnourishment, which is often equated with …

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Working-class Environmentalism

New JAH Article Points to Labor Support of Environmental Justice

Traditional histories of the environmental movement consider it to be a middle-class or upper-middle-class concern, removed from the grittier kitchen table issues of concern to working people. Not so, says Josiah Rector, in an article in the new Journal of American History, entitled “Environmental Justice at Work: The UAW, the War on cancer, and the Right …

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Some (sort of) good news on sea level rise

Reef growth may be able to keep pace with climate change, keeping island nations above water

That sea level rise driven by global warming will soon make low-lying island nations uninhabitable has been widely publicized and readily accepted. In 2009, then-President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives held a cabinet meeting underwater in full scuba gear to raise global awareness of the threat of climate change. (The underwater meeting later became the …

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Quantifying Environmental Justice (& Injustice) in California–An Update

California Improves an Already-Powerful Environmental Justice Analytical Tool

A year ago, I wrote about an important environmental justice initiative pioneered by the California Environmental Protection Agency and its subsidiary entity, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. That 2013 initiative, titled CalEnviroScreen, divided up the State of California by zip code, applied 11 environmental health and pollution factors, assessed each of the state’s …

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California’s Proposed Drinking Water Program Reorganization: A Primer

Photo credit to Darwin Bell.

What would the shake-up mean for those who currently lack affordable access to safe drinking water?

A shake-up of California’s struggling Drinking Water Program is in the works.  What follows is a little history, context, and a few thoughts on what it will likely mean for drinking-water stakeholders—in particular those who have the hardest time accessing safe drinking water.  A history of problems for the Drinking Water Program Last April, Jonathan …

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