Environmental justice focuses on the inequitable harms to health and well-being experienced by racially, economically, and socially marginalized communities from environmental influences. Engaging in environmental justice activism requires an understanding of ethics, of health equity, of social justice, and of the psychology of decision-making. Together, we will explore environmental justice through the lenses of public health, social psychology, and environmental psychology.
We will use public health principles to understand the common pathways that drive environmental injustices and health disparities including social, economic and racial inequities, and institutional power. The bodies most impacted by climate change are those already “dis-abled” and marginalized; tenets of disability justice including intersectionality, interdependence, and collective liberation will also be central to our inquiry.
Through social and environmental psychology, we will explore interactions between people and the environment via thought processes and behavior, as well as environmental decision-making related to environmental justice. This program will explore attitudes and their measurement, as well as factors that make persuasive environmental messages effective in changing attitudes.
Finally, social connection, meaning, and hope, are essential for psychological well-being, and must be embedded in our work for an altered future. We’ll study literature of critical hope and its connection to action and activism.
Why and how it is that certain groups of people are denied basic rights to a clean, safe, and just world, or are burdened with environmental hazards to a greater extent than others? What are the psychological strategies used to influence attitudes and behavior revolving around the environment? To tackle these questions, we will analyze scholarly and popular literature, examine case studies in health equity, and describe the core principles involved in social influence and persuasion in environmental psychology for environmental justice.
For this intermediate/advanced program, any students interested in psychology, health, or science (and more!) who have solid academic skills are welcome to join us.
16-credit students will conduct a small independent library research project culminating in a professional poster presentation that promotes an environmental message which applies psychological understanding of persuasion and decision-making. (12-credit students will not participate in this project.)
Course Reference Numbers
Science, psychology, public health, environmental justice, community studies
$45 for a required reader
|2022-02-14||$45 student fee added|