Environmental Justice

By accepting responsibility, we take effective steps toward our goal: an inclusive human society on a habitable planet, a society that works for all humans and for all nonhumans. By accepting responsibility, we move closer to creating a world that works for all.

Sharif Abdullah Keynote Speaker at the 2016 Just Sustainability Conference, Seattle University

Environmental justice is about ensuring that the benefits of the green movement are distributed to benefit communities of color, immigrant communities, low income communities, and other marginalized groups in society, according to Seattle's Green Dot and the Equity & Environment Initiative. We must lift up the voices and concerns of these communities within the environmental movement. 

The “environment” is not some distant place we seek to protect, but it incorporates the places where we live, work, play, pray and learn. If we wish to better the state of the environment, we must first start with bettering the condition of all humans. To truly foster environmental justice, we must research the root causes of environmental inequities to be able to take steps towards addressing them.

Research Highlights:

  • Water and Energy Projects
    • Tiny Homes research project: SU students work to explore how to determine the most efficient and effective insulation and ventilation systems to be used in the conversion of shipping crates into tiny homes.
    • EnviroWorks: SU students compare the effectiveness of energy efficient strategies used at two low income senior housing projects located in Salishan, WA.
    • Clean water projects: SU has projects and partners in Nepal, Thailand, Haiti, Nicaragua, and in Seattle's own Capitol Hill!
    • Kilowatt for Humanityhelps to bring power to rural villages around the world through the instillation of microgrids that power energy kiosks using solar panels.
    • Nicamigos: This group of SU alumni and friends are involved in numerous projects in Nicaragua, including a coffee wastewater treatment facilities, sustainable water purification systems, and more.
    • Fair Trade Coffee  - After receiving designation as a fair trade university from Fair Trade Colleges and Universities USA , Seattle University is now offering a special blend of fair trade coffee at the SU bookstore.
  • Environmental Education
    • WA Middle School: SU students collaborate with Washington Middle School students to build self-sustaining aquaponics gardens.

Local Organizations1

  • Puget Sound Sage In the video below, Dimitri Groce discusses the ways in which climate change will disproportionately impact neighborhoods in Seattle and how people of color will lead the environmental justice movement. Puget Sound Sage brings together labor, faith, and community to build an economy based on shared prosperity.

  • Environmental Coalition of South Seattle (ECOSS) encourages urban redevelopment and a healthy environment by providing education, resources, and technical assistance to diverse businesses and communities in the Puget Sound region.  
  • EPA Region 10 EJ Program plans and designs EJ implementation in a way that can be tracked and measured to illustrate progress region-wide. 
  • Got Green is a South Seattle based grassroots organization that raises the voices of low income communities and communities of color in the green movement. 
  • Environment & Equity Initiative is a collaboration between the city of Seattle and the community to create an Environmental Action Agenda centered on equity. 
  • EPA Environmental Justice Program The region 10 EJ program, which includes the Pacific Northwest, works with and gives grants to local organizations, universities, communities, and government agencies that are involved with work focusing on environmental justice. 


The resources listed were compiled by CEJS as examples of local organizations working on environmental programs and sustainability initiatives. Seattle University is not affiliated with these organizations and expressly disclaims all responsibility for any content provided and all liability that may arise out of participation in any organization programs or activities.