Environmental Justice

What is Environmental Justice?

Environmental justice is the right of all people and communities to equal environmental protection under the law and equal involvement in environmental decision-making processes. It is the right to "live, work, and play in communities that are safe, healthy, and free of life-threatening conditions."

Whether by conscious design or institutional neglect, commercial, industrial, and governmental policies or actions have resulted in the disproportionate exposure of poor communities and people of color to environmental hazards and environmental health burdens. The environmental justice movement seeks to promote economic alternatives that contribute to the development of environmentally safe livelihoods for all and address systemic environmental injustices. 

Delegates to the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit held in 1991 drafted and adopted The Principles of Environmental Justice, which have served as a defining document for the environmental justice movement since.

Seattle University and Environmental Justice

Seattle University strives to engage its community to make conscious, responsible and ethical decisions, and to promote environmental justice through:

Laudato Si’

Pope Francis expressed in his encyclical Laudato Si’ (issues in May 2015) the uncomfortable truths regarding the lack of environmental justice in the world, and challenged humankind to take responsibility for the planet and particularly to be mindful of those who are suffering most from the ecological crisis now before us. Read more.

Environmental Justice and Policymaking


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