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David Naguib Pellow

David Naguib Pellow is Don A. Martindale Endowed Chair in Sociology at the University of Minnesota. Among his books are the award-winning Garbage Wars: The Struggle for Environmental Justice in Chicago (MIT Press, 2002) and Power, Justice, and the Environment: A Critical Appraisal of the Environmental Justice Movement (coedited with Robert Brulle; MIT Press, 2005.)

Titles by This Author

Transnational Movements for Environmental Justice

Every year, nations and corporations in the “global North” produce millions of tons of toxic waste. Too often this hazardous material--linked to high rates of illness and death and widespread ecosystem damage--is exported to poor communities of color around the world. In Resisting Global Toxics, David Naguib Pellow examines this practice and charts the emergence of transnational environmental justice movements to challenge and reverse it. Pellow argues that waste dumping across national boundaries from rich to poor communities is a form of transnational environmental inequality that reflects North/South divisions in a globalized world, and that it must be theorized in the context of race, class, nation, and environment. Building on environmental justice studies, environmental sociology, social movement theory, and race theory, and drawing on his own research, interviews, and participant observations, Pellow investigates the phenomenon of global environmental inequality and considers the work of activists, organizations, and networks resisting it. He traces the transnational waste trade from its beginnings in the 1980s to the present day, examining global garbage dumping, the toxic pesticides that are the legacy of the Green Revolution in agriculture, and today’s scourge of dumping and remanufacturing high tech and electronics products. The rise of the transnational environmental movements described in Resisting Global Toxics charts a pragmatic path toward environmental justice, human rights, and sustainability.David Naguib Pellow is Professor in the Ethnic Studies Department and Director of California Cultures in Comparative Perspective at the University of California, San Diego. Among his books are the award-winning Garbage Wars: The Struggle for Environmental Justice in Chicago (MIT Press, 2002) and Power, Justice, and the Environment: A Critical Appraisal of the Environmental Justice Movement (coedited with Robert Brulle; MIT Press, 2005).

The Struggle for Environmental Justice in Chicago

In Garbage Wars, the sociologist David Pellow describes the politics of garbage in Chicago. He shows how garbage affects residents in vulnerable communities and poses health risks to those who dispose of it. He follows the trash, the pollution, the hazards, and the people who encountered them in the period 1880-2000. What unfolds is a tug of war among social movements, government, and industry over how we manage our waste, who benefits, and who pays the costs.

Studies demonstrate that minority and low-income communities bear a disproportionate burden of environmental hazards. Pellow analyzes how and why environmental inequalities are created. He also explains how class and racial politics have influenced the waste industry throughout the history of Chicago and the United States. After examining the roles of social movements and workers in defining, resisting, and shaping garbage disposal in the United States, he concludes that some environmental groups and people of color have actually contributed to environmental inequality.

By highlighting conflicts over waste dumping, incineration, landfills, and recycling, Pellow provides a historical view of the garbage industry throughout the life cycle of waste. Although his focus is on Chicago, he places the trends and conflicts in a broader context, describing how communities throughout the United States have resisted the waste industry's efforts to locate hazardous facilities in their backyards. The book closes with suggestions for how communities can work more effectively for environmental justice and safe, sustainable waste management.

Titles by This Editor

A Critical Appraisal of the Environmental Justice Movement

For almost 30 years, the environmental justice movement (EJM) has challenged the environmental and health inequities that are often linked with social inequities, calling attention to the disproportionate burden of pollution borne by low-income and minority communities. The successes of the movement have been celebrated, and the EJM's impact on the direction of environmental policy, research, and activism is widely acknowledged. But the literature on environmental justice lacks a real assessment of the movement's effectiveness. This book provides just such a critical appraisal, examining the EJM's tactics, strategies, rhetoric, organizational structure, and resource base. With chapters by both scholars and activists, the book links theory and practice with the aim of contributing to a more effective movement.Power, Justice, and the Environment looks first at the progress, failures, and successes of the EJM over the years. A comparison with the Civil Rights movement draws some provocative conclusions.The book next focuses on the development of new strategies and cultural perspectives, considering, among other topics, alternative models for community mobilization and alternative organizational structure. Finally, the book examines the effect of globalization on environmental inequality and how the EJM can address transnational environmental injustices.