Sustainability, Vol. 13, Pages 11238: Assessing the Integration of Environmental Justice and Sustainability in Practice: A Review of the Literature
Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su132011238
Susan Spierre Clark
Monica Lynn Miles
The environmental justice (EJ) movement has been a key factor in the United States’ struggle to provide a healthy environment for all to thrive. The origins of the movement date as far back as the 1960’s, led primarily by people of color and low economic status communities living in America’s most polluted environments. More recently, the just sustainability movement calls for the inclusion of EJ considerations, including social justice, equity, and human rights, into sustainability science and initiatives. Whereas previous work has elucidated synergies between both concepts, this paper provides a literature review of studies that apply the concepts of EJ and sustainability in the US to inform ways in which the concepts are merging (or not) for practical applications. The primary objectives of this review are (1) to identify the common themes in which EJ and sustainability are applied, (2) to qualitatively assess the progression of the integration of these important movements in practical applications, and (3) to inform research gaps that exist in this area. In general, we find that despite the increasing conceptual emphasis on the need to integrate these important concepts, the reviewed scholarship reveals that in practice, the integration of EJ and sustainability remains piecemeal.
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