Resources for Understanding the Intersection of Climate Justice and Racial Justice

Part One

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. This fist part focuses primarily on primer texts to help readers establish a base of knowledge. The 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.

Primer Texts for Broad Knowledge

  1. All We Can Save: Truth, Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis (2020) edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson
  2. Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction (2021) by Michelle Nijhuis
  3. Carbon Criminals, Climate Crimes (2020) by Ronald C. Kramer
  4. Climate Change, Literature, and Environmental Justice: Poetics of Dissent and Repair (2021) by Jane Fiskio
  5. Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future (2018) by Mary Robinson
  6. Confronting Environmental Racism: Voices from the Grassroots (1993) by Robert D. Bullard
  7. Consumed: The Need for Collective Change: Colonialism, Climate Change, and Consumerism (2021) by Aja Barber
  8. Educator and Activist: My Life and Times in the Quest for Environmental Justice (2022) by Bunyan Bryant, Jr.
  9. Environmental Justice and Healthy Communities: Stories of Citizens Taking Action (2021) by Jerry Marx
  10. The Environmental Justice Reader: Politics, Poetics, and Pedagogy (2002) by Joni Adamson, Mei Mei Evans, and Rachel Stein
  11. Environmental Justice and Resiliency in an Age of Uncertainty (2022) edited By Celeste Murphy-Greene
  12. Environmental Politics (2013) edited by Peter Dauvergne
  13. Environmental Racism in the United States and Canada: Seeking Justice and Sustainability (2020) by Bruce E. Johansen
  14. Equity and the Environment, v. 15 (2007) edited by William R. Freudenburg and Robert C. Wilkinson
  15. Fire and Flood: A People’s History of Climate Change, from 1979 to the Present (2022) by Eugene Linden
  16. From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement (2000) by Luke W. Cole and Sheila R. Foster
  17. Global Warming and the Climate Crisis: Science, Spirit, and Solutions (2023) by Bruce E. Johansen
  18. Is Science Enough?: Forty Critical Questions About Climate Justice (2022) by Aviva Chomsky
  19. Literature and the Environment: Critical and Primary Sources, 4v. (2021) edited by Stephanie LeMenager and Teresa Shewry
  20. Managing Environmental Justice (2010) edited by Dennis Pavlich
  21. Planetary Solidarity: Global Women’s Voices on Christian Doctrine and Climate Justice (2017) edited by Grace Ji-Sun Kim and Hilda P. Koster
  22. The Quest for Environmental Justice: Human Rights and the Politics of Pollution (2005) edited by Robert D. Bullard
  23. Reparative Environmental Justice in a World of Wounds (2020) by Ben Almassi
  24. Resisting Global Toxics: Transnational Movements for Environmental Justice (2007) by David Naguib Pellow
  25. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (2014) by Elizabeth Kolbert
  26. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate (2014) by Naomi Klein
  27. Toxic Truths: Environmental Justice and Citizen Science in a Post-Truth Age (2020) edited by Thom Davies and Alice Mah*
  28. What Climate Justice Means And Why We Should Care (2022) by Elizabeth Cripps
  29. What Is Critical Environmental Justice (2017) by David Naguib Pellow

Environmental Racism and Classism

  1. Before the Streetlights Come On: Black America’s Urgent Call for Climate Solutions (2023) by Heather McTeer Toney
  2. Climate Change Is Racist: Race, Privilege and the Struggle for Climate Justice (2021) by Jeremy Williams
  3. Climate Politics on the Border: Environmental Justice Rhetorics (2022) by Kenneth Walker
  4. Diamond: A Struggle for Environmental Justice in Louisiana’s Chemical Corridor (2004) by Steve Lerner
  5. Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality, 3rd ed. (2000) by Robert D. Bullard
  6. Energy and Environmental Justice: Movements, Solidarities, and Critical Connections (2022) by Tristan Partridge
  7. Evolution of a Movement: Four Decades of California Environmental Justice Activism (2022) by Tracy E. Perkins
  8. Fighting to Breathe: Race, Toxicity, and the Rise of Youth Activism in Baltimore (2022) by Nicole Fabricant
  9. Garbage Wars: The Struggle for Environmental Justice in Chicago (2002) by David Naguib Pellow
  10. Growing Smarter: Achieving Livable Communities, Environmental Justice, and Regional Equity (2007) edited by Robert D. Bullard
  11. Invisible Houston: The Black Experience in Boom and Bust (1987) by Robert D. Bullard
  12. Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World (2003) edited by Julian Agyeman, Robert D. Bullard and Bob Evans
  13. Lessons in Environmental Justice: From Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter and Idle No More (2020) edited by Michael Mascarenhas
  14. Mountains of Injustice: Social and Environmental Justice in Appalachia (2011)
  15. Pauulu’s Diaspora: Black Internationalism and Environmental Justice (2020) by Quito J. Swan
  16. Power, Justice and the Environment: A Critical Appraisal of the Environmental Justice Movement (2005) edited by David Naguib Pellow and Robert J. Brulle
  17. Race, Place, and Environmental Justice After Hurricane Katrina: Struggles to Reclaim, Rebuild, and Revitalize New Orleans and the Gulf Coast (2009) edited by Robert D. Bullard and Beverly Wright
  18. Reconsidering Reparations (2022) by Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò
  19. The Slums of Aspen: Immigrants vs. the Environment in America’s Eden (2011) by Lisa Sun-Hee Park and David Naguib Pellow
  20. Sport Stadiums and Environmental Justice (2022) edited By Timothy Kellison*
  21. Technoscience and Environmental Justice: Expert Cultures in a Grassroots Movement (2011) edited by Gwen Ottinger and Benjamin R. Cohen
  22. There’s Something In The Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous & Black Communities (2018) by Ingrid R. G. Waldron
  23. Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice and Communities of Color (1994) edited by Robert D. Bullard
  24. Urban Recycling and the Search for Sustainable Community Development (2000) by Adam S. Weinberg, David Naguib Pellow, and Allan Schnaiberg
  25. We Speak for Ourselves: Social Justice, Race, and Environment (1990) by Robert D. Bullard, Dana A. Alston, and Panos Institute (U.S.)
  26. Working on Earth: Class and Environmental Justice (2015) edited by Christina Robertson and Jennifer Westerman
  27. The Wrong Complexion for Protection: How the Government Response to Disaster Endangers African American Communities (2012) by Robert D. Bullard and Beverly Wright

*Open Access titles

Be sure to also check out part two 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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