NEJRC Research Project Missions

The Philanthropy and Environmental Justice Research Project:

The Philanthropy and Environmental Justice Research Project is devoting to forging more effective partnerships between the environmental justice movement (EJM) and the philanthropic community. In particular, our work serves as an important educational tool for funders by: (1) providing information regarding the accomplishments of the EJM; (2) recommending the most appropriate grantmaking practices given the structure and needs of the EJM; (3) evaluating the importance of diversity and inclusive practices in foundation settings for improving grantmaking practices; and (4) evaluating the manner in which grantmakers can better utilize their institutional clout to support the work of the EJM beyond the disbursement of grants by undertaking mission-related investing strategies and mission-related shareholder actions. We envision this work as being a valuable resource for foundation members and EJ advocates.

 The Climate Justice Project:

The Climate Justice Project is devoted to exploring the national, international, and intergenerational justice dimensions of climate change and climate policy.  Our work is particularly focused on the disparate racial and class-based impacts of climate change in the United States, as well as issues of the climate debt and the deepening of poverty and inequality in the global South.  Much of our work is currently focused on providing a greater understanding of the social and climate-related factors that lead to the migration (and non-migration) of Pacific Islanders.  This work will assist in gaining a better understanding of the manner in which resettlement programs for climate-displaced peoples must be treated as a development issue if such resettlement programs are to be economically viable and sustainable.

 New England Environmental Justice Research Project:

This project focuses on uncovering the social disparities that present themselves when looking at the placement of ecological and human health problems within New England. It also strives to find policy solutions that could help remedy these issues.

 Project on American Environmental Justice Politics, Policy, and Ethics

The Project on American Environmental Justice Politics, Policy, and Ethics is focused on uncovering ecological injustices in the United States accentuated by the rise of neo-liberalism and corporate-led globalization. People of color and working class communities traditionally relegated to the periphery of the environmental movement are now challenging the wholesale depredation of their land, water, air, and community health.  Our work is focused on a number of major political, policy, and ethical challenges confronting the EJ. These challenges include moving beyond approaches aimed at ending the unequal distribution of environmental problems (distributional justice) to address the political-economic structures that produce the environmental problems in the first place (productive justice) to invent a more transformative political ecology.

 Latin American Environmental Policy Research Project

The Latin American Environmental Policy Research Project is devoted to examining the way in which neo-liberal capitalist development in Latin America exacerbates ecological problems and environmental injustices. Peoples deriving their livelihoods directly from the land, water, forests, coastal mangroves, and other ecosystems are becoming polluted and/or displaced by the expansion of export agriculture and/or extraction of cheap raw materials for domestic and foreign capital. Laboring in service of this new global order, but receiving few of its benefits, the popular majorities — poor peasants, workers, and indigenous peoples – struggle to survive by moving onto ecologically fragile lands or by migrating to the shantytowns of the cities by the millions to search for employment. As a result, globalization-inspired development models are becoming increasingly unviable in Latin America, giving birth to popularly based movements for social and ecological justice – an environmentalism of the poor, as well as a political reaction against neo-liberalism in favor of alternative development models.

 Project on Globalization and Environmental Justice

The Project on Globalization and Environmental Justice is focused on uncovering the manner in which the worsening ecological crisis in the global South is directly related to a global system of economic and environmental stratification. Given the absence of national environmental policy in developing nations, the lack of rigorous environmental laws and sanctions against corporate polluters, the anti-environmental content of the so-called “free-trade” agreements, the growing mobility of capital is facilitating the export of environmental problems from the advanced capitalist countries. By expanding its ecological footprint and other forms of unequal ecological exchange, economic growth in the North is dependent upon the increased export of ecological hazards abroad, as well as confiscation of natural resource wealth from the global South.  Our work is focused on developing more just and sustainable fair trade alternatives to current forms of corporate-led globalization.

 Project on Chemical Trespass and Pinkwashing:

The Project on Chemical Trespass and Pinkwashing examines the connections between pinkwashing, the large number of harmful chemicals now within our bodies and the environment, and the rising rates of cancer, birth defects, learning disabilities, and many other diseases.  The last decade has witnessed the growth of a chemical policy reform movement.  Pinkwashing refers to companies and groups that position themselves as leaders in the struggle to eradicate breast cancer while engaging in practices that contribute to rising rates of the disease. Marketing symbols and practices (such as the color pink and pink ribbons) are invoked to indicate that a company has joined the philanthropic fight against breast cancer even when that same company incorporates chemicals linked to cancer into their manufacturing processes or commodities, including “pink ribbon” consumer products.

Environmental Justice and Emerging Technologies Project

This project evaluates emerging technologies–particularly biotechnology/genomics, nanotechnology, and information technology, but also neurotechnology, robotics, and artificial intelligence–from the perspectives of environmental justice, and explores their implications for environmental justice communities and movements. Emerging technologies often have the potential to contribute to addressing environmental injustice and benefit environmental justice communities through, for example, pollution prevention, environmental remediation, environmental monitoring, public health monitoring, work place health and safety, medical diagnosis and treatment, information accessibility, democratic practice/participation, and organization and communication capacity. However, emerging technologies also can be detrimental to environmental justice communities through, for example, pollution, safety hazards, unequal access, margialization from decision-making, exploitation, and opportunity costs, thereby contributing substantially to environmental injustice along all of its dimensions (distributive, procedural, participatory, recognition, and capabilities). The goals of this project are to: (1) raise the salience of the environmental justice dimensions of emerging technologies; (2) identify opportunities for emerging technologies to contribute to addressing environmental injustice; (3) make recommendations–social, policy, and regulatory–to promote emerging technologies in ways that address rather than exacerbate environmental injustice; and (4) provide a resource on emerging technologies for environmental justice communities.