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Julian Agyeman

Julian Agyeman is Professor and Chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University.

Titles by This Editor

Race, Class, and Sustainability

Popularized by such best-selling authors as Michael Pollan, Barbara Kingsolver, and Eric Schlosser, a growing food movement urges us to support sustainable agriculture by eating fresh food produced on local family farms. But many low-income neighborhoods and communities of color have been systematically deprived of access to healthy and sustainable food. These communities have been actively prevented from producing their own food and often live in “food deserts” where fast food is more common than fresh food. Cultivating Food Justice describes their efforts to envision and create environmentally sustainable and socially just alternatives to the food system.
Bringing together insights from studies of environmental justice, sustainable agriculture, critical race theory, and food studies, Cultivating Food Justice highlights the ways race and class inequalities permeate the food system, from production to distribution to consumption. The studies offered in the book explore a range of important issues, including agricultural and land use policies that systematically disadvantage Native American, African American, Latino/a, and Asian American farmers and farmworkers; access problems in both urban and rural areas; efforts to create sustainable local food systems in low-income communities of color; and future directions for the food justice movement. These diverse accounts of the relationships among food, environmentalism, justice, race, and identity will help guide efforts to achieve a just and sustainable agriculture.

Local Perspectives on Global Injustices

Multinational corporations often exploit natural resources or locate factories in poor countries far from the demand for the products and profits that result. Developed countries also routinely dump hazardous materials and produce greenhouse gas emissions that have a disproportionate impact on developing countries. This book investigates how these and other globalized practices exact high social and environmental costs as poor, local communities are forced to cope with depleted resources, pollution, health problems, and social and cultural disruption. Case studies drawn from Africa, Asia, the Pacific Rim, and Latin America critically assess how diverse types of global inequalities play out on local terrains. These range from an assessment of the pros and cons of foreign investment in Fiji to an account of the work of transnational activists combating toxic waste disposal in Mozambique. Taken together, the chapters demonstrate the spatial disconnect between global consumption and production on the one hand and local environmental quality and human rights on the other. The result is a rich perspective not only on the ways industries, governments, and consumption patterns may further entrench existing inequalities but also on how emerging networks and movements can foster institutional change and promote social equality and environmental justice.

The legacy of environmental catastrophe in the states of the former Soviet Union includes desertification, pollution, and the toxic aftermath of industrial accidents, the most notorious of which was the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. This book examines the development of environmental activism in Russia and the former Soviet republics in response to these problems and its effect on policy and planning. It also shows that because of increasing economic, ethnic, and social inequality in the former Soviet states, debates over environmental justice are beginning to come to the fore. The book explores the varying environmental, social, political, and economic circumstances of these countries--which range from the Western-style democracies of the Baltic states to the totalitarian regimes of Central Asia--and how they affect the ecological, environmental, and public health. Among the topics covered are environmentalism in Russia (including the progressive nature of its laws on environmental protection, which are undermined by overburdened and underpaid law enforcement); the effect of oil wealth on Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan; the role of nationalism in Latvian environmentalism; the struggle of Russia’s indigenous peoples for environmental justice; public participation in Estonia’s environmental movement; and lack of access to natural capital in Tajikistan. Environmental Justice and Sustainability in the Former Soviet Union makes clear that although fragile transition economies, varying degrees of democratization, and a focus on national security can stymie progress toward “just sustainability,” the diverse states of the former Soviet Union are making some progress toward “green” and environmental justice issues separately.

Development in an Unequal World

Environmental activists and academics alike are realizing that a sustainable society must be a just one. Environmental degradation is almost always linked to questions of human equality and quality of life. Throughout the world, those segments of the population that have the least political power and are the most marginalized are selectively victimized by environmental crises. Just Sustainabilities argues that social and environmental justice within and between nations should be an integral part of the policies and agreements that promote sustainable development. The book addresses many aspects of the links between environmental quality and human equality and between sustainability and environmental justice more generally. The topics discussed include anthropocentrism; biotechnology; bioprospecting; biocultural assimilation; deep and radical ecology; ecological debt; ecological democracy; ecological footprints; ecological modernization; feminism and gender; globalization; participatory research; place, identity, and legal rights; precaution; risk society; selective victimization; and valuation.