Environmental Justice & Activism

Books & Articles

8000 ‘Guest Workers’ Join Farm Union in North Carolina (2004)
The Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), a farm worker union, organized a successful 5-year boycott of grocers supplied by the Mt. Olive pickle company to secure a grievance procedure (overseen by the union), funds for food while traveling, and other benefits for H2A guest workers harvesting cucumbers for pickling.

An Unreasonable Woman (2006)
Written by Diane Wilson, a fourth-generation shrimper on the Texas Gulf coast, who has used civil disobedience to stop corporate chemical giants from polluting.

Dying in My Father’s Arms, on pages 1, 2 & 7 of the Summer 2008 issue of From the Ground Up, the newsletter of Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF), a non-profit advocacy organization.

The Dangers of Pesticides for Farmworkers, from Farmworker Justice, a non-profit advocacy organization.

Environment, Disaster, and Race After Katrina (2006)
A short article summarizing the findings of the longer report with the same title.
The full report is posted under Higher Education.

The Environmental Justice Movement, a brief history from the National Resource Defense Council by Renee Skelton and Vernice Miller.

FLOC: Winning Collective Bargaining for Farm Workers. An overview of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC)’s work unionizing farm workers to secure better working an living conditions, including campaigns in NC related to cucumber and tobacco workers.

Mayah’s Lot. An urban environmental justice comic book story (fiction) about a teenager, an abandoned lot, a redevelopment plan, and community organizing. Please see the link to the video version below.

Pollution, Poverty, People of Color, a series of stories examining environmental justice issues. For this project, Environmental Health News dispatched reporters to seven communities across the United States to report on their struggles to cope with an array of environmental threats.

Principles of Environmental Justice. Delegates to the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit held on October 24-27, 1991, in Washington DC, drafted and adopted 17 principles of Environmental Justice. Since then, The Principles have served as a defining document for the growing grassroots movement for environmental justice.

Real People — Real Stories: Afton, NC (Warren County)brief summary (pdf). From The Exchange Project at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and includes questions for classrooms.

Rhythm of Harvest. A short essay by Neftali Cuello, a teenager in NC who is continuing to work on farms as she finishes high school. 2012 first-prize winner of the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP)’s Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Essay Contest (14-18 age bracket).

Rogers Road, a book on the history of the Rogers Road neighborhood of Orange County, N.C., and discussion of the effects of a landfill built near the neighborhood.


Videos & Films

Robert Bullard – The Genesis of Environmental Justice

Brief introduction to Warren County by an early researcher on environmental injustices. (3 minutes)

Chester Environmental Justice

Case study of activism against industrial pollution. (9 minutes)

Environmental Justice (Park Reclamation in Washington, D.C.)

Short documentary on connecting green spaces with building community. (16 minutes)

Majora Carter: Greening the Ghetto

MacArthur-winning activist Majora Carter details her fight for environmental justice in the South Bronx and shows how minority neighborhoods suffer most from flawed urban policy. (20 minutes)

Mayah’s Lot.

A video version of an urban environmental justice comic book story (fiction) about a teenager, an abandoned lot, a redevelopment plan, and community organizing. See the comic book version above. (18 minutes)

Over Worked & Under Spray: Young Farm Workers’ Pesticide Stories

Another Toxic Free NC video that documents young farm workers’ stories of exposure to pesticides in North Carolina.

Pesticides: A Farm Worker Perspective

Toxic Free NC, an organization dedicated to eliminating pesticide pollution, produced this video of migrant farm workers sharing their stories of exposure to toxic pesticides.

A Civil Action (1998)
John Travolta plays a civil lawyer involved in a decade-long case in a Massachusetts town where two wells supplying water are found to be contaminated with industrial solvents. Residents soon realize that this pollution by local factories is the reason for the unusually high rate of leukemia among local children. Based on a true story. (125 minutes)

Erin Brockovich (2000)
Julia Roberts stars in this true story of Erin Brockovich, a single mother of three who, after losing a personal injury lawsuit, asks her lawyer, Ed Masry, if he can help her find a job. Ed gives her work as a file clerk in his office, and she runs across some information on a little known case filed against Pacific Gas and Electric. Erin discovers a systematic cover-up of the industrial poisoning of the city’s water supply, which threatens the health of the entire community. Based on a true story. (132 minutes)

Greening the Inner-City: Jobs, Health, Justice and the Environment
Omar Freilla recently launched Green Worker Cooperatives, an initiative dedicated to the creation of worker-owned, environmentally-friendly manufacturing cooperatives in the South Bronx. (30-minute plenary presentation at the 2005 Bioneers Conference)

Lesson Plans

Food Justice
Grade: 3
Topics: Inequality, Food Justice
Standards: MMSD, NCSS
Comments: 5 lessons

Environmental Justice Unit
Grades: 3-4
Topics: Environmental Justice, Pollution
Standards: MMSD, NCSS
Comments: 5 lessons

Environmental Justice
Grades: 6-8
Topics: Sustainability, Civil Rights
Standards: National, North Carolina (Social Studies & Language Arts)
Comments: Analyzing and comparing Martin Luther King, Jr. and Al Gore.

Environmental Injustice: Go on the WebQuest
Grades: 6-8
Topics: Environmental Justice, Industrial Pollution
Standards: Michigan (Language Arts, Technology)

Environmental Justice Heroes & Sheroes
Grades: 6-12
Topics: Environmental Justice, History
Standards: California (Investigation & Experimentation)

Editorial Cartoons: Poverty/Environmental Justice
Grades: 6-12
Topics: Environmental Justice, Pollution, Poverty
Standards: not listed

Introducing students to environmental justice: A North Carolina case study
Grades: 8-12
Topics: Environmental Justice, Waste
Standards: North Carolina (Science & Social Studies)
Comments: Warren County, NC

Civil Wrongs
Grades: 9-12
Topics: Environmental Justice, Civil Rights
Standards: not listed
Comments: must be a member of the website; 10-day free trial

Action for Environmental Justice
Grades: 9-12
Topics: Environmental Justice, Activism
Standards: National (Civics)
Comments: role play, discussion, research

E-cycling for Environmental Justice
Grades: 9-12
Topics: Environmental Justice, Waste
Standards: National (Civics)
Comments: role play, discussion, draft legislation

Whose Resource Is It?
Grades: 9-12
Topics: Environmental Justice, Industrial Pollution
Standards: Virginia (History, Geography, Government)
Comments: role play

Green Jobs & Environmental Justice
Grades: 9-12
Topics: Environmental Justice, Superfund, Green Jobs
Standards: National (Social Studies, Health)
Comments: discussion, role play

Lesson Planet: Environmental Justice
Grades: all levels (K – higher ed)
Topics: Environmental Justice
Comments: must be a member of the website, 10-day free trial

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