Environmental justice

Paul Mohai, David Pellow, J. Timmons Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

812 Scopus citations


The article reviews two decades of scholars' claims that exposures to pollution and other environmental risks are unequally distributed by race and class, examines case studies of environmental justice social movements and the history and politics of environmental justice policy making in the United States, and describes the emerging issue of global climate justice. The authors engage the contentious literature on how to quantitatively measure and document environmental injustice, especially the complex problems of having data of very different types and areas (such as zip codes, census tracts, or concentric circles) around polluting facilities or exposed populations. Also considered is the value of perspectives from critical race theory and ethnic studies for making sense of these social phenomena. The article concludes with a discussion of the globalization of the environmental justice movement, discourse, and issues, as well as with some policy implications of finding and understanding environmental justice. One unique feature of this review is its breadth and diversity, given the different approaches taken by the three coauthors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-430
Number of pages26
JournalAnnual Review of Environment and Resources
StatePublished - 2009


  • Disproportionate impact
  • Exposure
  • Inequality
  • Mobilization
  • Pollution
  • Race


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