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The Environmental Justice Movement: An Analysis of Its Human Focus and Dynamic Pattern


Yushen Luo

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As global warming and climate crises become more pressing issues, an increasing number of studies have begun to focus on the intersection of environmental problems and social justice, or what is more commonly known as “environmental justice.” The present paper offers an overview of this form of justice by first illustrating the history of the environmental justice movement from a small strand of the Civil Rights Movement to an independent and comprehensive grassroots social movement. Thereafter, the paper discusses the major participants of the movement and presents the overall pattern and how grassroots efforts interact with legislative, juridical, and administrative sectors of the government. This part of the paper draws upon major cases of environmental justice from the cities of Oakland, Richmond, and Hinkley in California and Flint, Michigan. Finally, the paper describes some of the challenges that the movement has faced in connecting environmental hazards to racism and minority communities and suggests potential directions for future movements such as inter-regional efforts and more emphasis upon other climate-related problems.


racial inequalities
global warming
government policies
the United States
environmental justice


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