Environmental Justice Chapter in The Delaware Naturalist

I recently published a book chapter for The Delaware Naturalist, edited by McKay Jenkins and Sue Barton at UD. The chapter, titled “Environmental Justice,” is an introduction to the field and focuses on environmental injustice issues in New Castle County, DE. It is a unique introduction of a social and environmental justice perspective to the master naturalist curriculum. I hope that it helps to serve those students, as well as the local public, to integrate a social justice lens into their work on environmental issues in the state.

Citation:

Perez, Victor W. 2020. “Environmental Justice.” Pages 291-310 (Chapter 13) in The Delaware Naturalist Handbook, edited by McKay Jenkins and Susan Barton. Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press. Distributed by the University of Virginia Press.

Find it on Amazon and see a video on the overall effort in a recent UDaily article.

The Highlands Bunker Podcast – Episode 77

Recently, I joined Madinah Wilson-Anton on the The Highlands Bunker Podcast to discuss her Green New Deal for Delaware and some of my related research. Some of my favorite parts include discussions of renewable energy and fenceline communities, while also cautioning inequitable outcomes of opportunity zones and development driving green infrastructure and community changes. Check it out here!

Throwback: Green Gentrification

Ken Gould and Tammy Lewis visited UD in the fall 2018 and presented on their book Green Gentrification. Their work showcases how, absent of the needed social policies (e.g., affordable housing), green infrastructure development can heighten social inequalities and lead to displacement of residents in communities with green revitalization. Such a relevant topic for many urban areas in the mid-Atlantic, including Wilmington. Here’s a clip from their talk!

 

Blurring the Boundaries of Science at UD

Recently, I have been giving guest lectures to classes at UD on why a social and environmental justice perspective is important for students in the natural sciences. In spring 2019 semester, for example, I gave two guest lectures to the graduate course Plant and Soil Sciences (PLSC 608), taught by Dr. Don Sparks and Dr. Jason Fischel. In those lectures and discussions, I emphasized why the students’ training and skill sets are particularly salient to environmental justice communities in addressing legacies of social structural injustice. By providing a lens on the social sources of environmental injustice to natural science students, we can help to foster well-rounded scientists that use their training to not only advance science, but address social and environmental inequities by prioritizing historically burdened communities for cleanup and remediation. The work was supported by a grant from the Center for Science, Ethics, and Public Policy at the University of Delaware.

Example of questions I ask students when we consider the roles of scientists in collaboration with environmentally burdened communities (drawn from the work of Sabrina McCormick).

Questions to Start Discussion on Democratizing Science