In recent years, the impacts of the Anthropocene -- the era of human disruption of the global environment -- are becoming increasingly apparent. The news is full of reports of massive wildfires, devastating hurricanes, floods, droughts, extinctions, and more. However, not all humans share the same risks or experience equivalent burdens from hazards associated with the Anthropocene. In this course, we will explore these unequal experiences of environmental hazards through the lens of environmental justice (EJ). EJ is both a field of scholarship and a social movement. It emerged in the 1970s and 1980s in response to the growing realization that poor and marginalized communities often experience disproportionate, harmful impacts from exposure to toxic waste. Since then, EJ scholars and activists have worked to document and understand cases in which environmental hazards compound the burdens of poverty, racism, gender discrimination, and other forms of social inequality. This seminar will focus on environmental hazards that have been caused directly or indirectly by humans, including hurricanes, rising sea levels, and toxic waste exposure. Most of the examples that we explore will come from North America, but we will also discuss ideas and concepts that are applicable elsewhere in the world.
Course Attributes: UC ML