Resources for Understanding the Intersection of Climate Justice and Racial Justice

Part Two

Two hands framing the earth. Headline reads, "Climate Justice Is Racial Justice"

In honor of Earth Day tomorrow (April 22), Toward Inclusive Excellence has compiled the following list of resources to explore the intersection of climate justice and racial justice, sourced from experts in the field.

In the world today, the most marginalized communities experience the worst effects of the climate crisis. Colonialism and its legacies (e.g., white supremacy) have been the biggest factors driving environmental degradation: ramping up natural resource extractions in the Global South and contributing the most to greenhouse gas emissions while leaving the Global South to reap the worst consequences of this destructive activity. Within the United States, we see the same dynamic at play as the most racially and ethnically marginalized communities are the hardest hit by the impacts of climate change, often exposed to the worst pollution. Given these disparities, many have argued that a true climate justice movement cannot exist without racial justice. And yet, mainstream environmental movements often erase people of color from their messaging and membership.

This list of resources seeks to serve as a corrective, underscoring the reality of environmental racism. With so many wonderful recommendations, we had to split the list into two parts. The fist part focuses primarily on primer texts to help readers establish a base of knowledge. This second part considers Indigenous knowledge of the environment and approaches to environmentalism, incorporating a host of online resources for added benefit. We thank our contributors for building such a strong pool of resources and hope that it will be of service to many readers this Earth Day.

Indigenous Knowledge and Activism/Resistance

  1. As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Enviromenal Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock (2019) by Dina Gilio-Whitaker
  2. Black Earth Wisdom: Soulful Conversations with Black Environmentalists (2023) by Leah Penniman
  3. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants (2013) by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  4. Detours: A Decolonial Guide to Hawai’i (2019) edited by Hokulani K. Aikau and Gonzalez Vernadette Vicuña
  5. Disrupting the Patrón: Indigenous Land Rights and the Fight for Environmental Justice in Paraguay’s Chaco (2023) by Joel E. Correia*
  6. Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science (2022) by Jessica Hernandez
  7. Green Wars: Conservation and Decolonization in the Maya Forest (2017) by Megan Ybarra
  8. Healing Grounds: Climate, Justice, and the Deep Roots of Regenerative Farming (2022) by Liz Carlisle
  9. Indians of the Tulares: Adaptation, Relocation, and Subjugation in Central California 1771-1917 (2017) by George Harwood Phillips
  10. Indigenous Environmental Justice (2020) edited by Karen Jarratt-Snider and Marianne O. Nielsen
  11. Indigenous Resurgence: Decolonialization and Movements for Environmental Justice (2022) edited by Jaskiran Dhillon*
  12. Ka’m-t’em: A Journey Toward Healing (2019) by Kishan Lara-Cooper and Walter J. Lara, Sr.
  13. Mapping Abundance for a Planetary Future: Kanaka Maoli and Critical Settler Cartographies in Hawai’i (2021) by Candace Fujikane
  14. Native Women and Land: Narratives of Dispossession and Resurgence (2015) by Stephanie J. Fitzgerald
  15. Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance (2019) by Nick Estes
  16. Resource Devastation on Native American Lands (2023) by Bruce E. Johansen
  17. The Settler Sea: California’s Salton Sea and the Consequences of Colonialism (2021) by Traci Brynne Voyles
  18. Who Killed Berta Caceres?: Dams, Death Squads, and an Indigenous Defender’s Battle for the Planet (2020) by Nina Lakhani

Online Resources

  1. Book Review: Climate Change is Racist: Race, Privilege and the Struggle for Climate Justice” (2022) by D. K. Powell
  2. Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice
  3. Climate Justice Alliance
  4. Deceleration For the Earth and All Her Families
  5. Deep South Center for Environmental Justice
  6. Dr. Robert Bullard: Father of Environmental Justice
  7. Earth Island Journal
  8. The Ecologist
  9. Environmental Justice / Environmental Racism
  10. EPA — Environmental Justice Learning Center
  11. The global climate crisis is a racial justice crisis: UN expert” (2022) Press Release from the UN Human Rights Office
  12. Green America — Climate Justice Resources
  13. Green Grants — Climate Justice
  14. Grist Magazine
  15. Journey from Spirit Mountain (documentary)
  16. Mary Robinson Foundation — Climate Justice
  17. NAACP — Environmental and Climate Justice
  18. Non-Profit Quarterly (NPQ) — Climate Justice
  19. Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (Pacific RISA) — Climate Justice and Racial Justice: Resources
  20. Reframing Climate and Environmental Justice” (2022), IDS Bulletin 53.4, edited by Amber Huff and Lars Otto Naes
  21. Sierra (The Magazine of the Sierra Club)
  22. UC Center for Climate Justice
  23. UCAR Center for Climate Justice
  24. WE ACT for Environmental Justice
  25. ‘The Wrong Complexion For Protection.’ How Race Shaped America’s Roadways And Cities” (2020) interview with Robert D. Bullard by Ashish Valentine for NPR

*Open Access titles

If you haven’t already, be sure to also check out part one of this list.

TIE is grateful to the following Choice reviewers who graciously contributed specialized recommendations to the list above:

Headshot of a man with white hair, glasses, and a turquoise necklace.

Dr. Bruce E. Johansen

Frederick W. Kayser University Research Professor, Emeritus, Communication and Native American Studies, University of Nebraska at Omaha

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Dr. Tarique Niazi

Professor of Environmental Sociology, University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire

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Helena Quintana

Reference Librarian (part-time), Spencer Library and Media Center, Imperial Valley College

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Sue Wiegand

Scholarly Communications Librarian, Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN 

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Hilary Dorsch Wong

Instructional Services Librarian, Memorial Library, SUNY Cortland

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