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Author

The Climate Reality Project

Grades

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Social Studies, Civics, Health

Resource Type

  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus

North America, United States

Environmental Racism

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Synopsis
  • This article explains the historical and current impacts of environmental racism on the health and well-being of Black people and people of color. 
  • Students will learn that they can start fighting environmental racism by looking inside themselves, starting small, and connecting with environmental justice groups. 
Teaching Tips

Positives:

  • This article is very useful in introducing the concept of environmental racism.
  • The language is straightforward.
  • The linked reports and news articles provide students with concrete examples of environmental racism.
  • Students can see that racist policies have led to people of color disproportionately bearing the burden of environmental hazards.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students will need a device to access the links.

Differentiation 

  • This article can serve as an introduction to the topic of environmental justice. After discussing the article, students can dive deeper into specific case studies of environmental racism.
  • Civics or government classes could research environmental policies that protect people from environmental injustice and find out if similar policies exist in their community. If they do not, students could write to their elected officials to request that a policy be put in place to protect historically marginalized communities from environmental health problems.
  • Other resources on this topic include this article on air pollution in the Bronx, this media literacy lesson on the connection between Black Lives Matter and climate change, and this TED video on the disproportionate effects of climate change on people who did not cause it.
Scientist Notes
This article provides the steps to disentangle the disparate effects of poverty and racism in a changing climate. Additional links have been properly cited, thus, the article provides a moral obligation for students and educators to act and end environmental injustice.
Standards
  • Social Studies
    • Civics & Government
      • Civics & Government 1 (F2): Students understand the ideals, purposes, principles, structures, and processes of constitutional government in the United States and in the American political system, as well as examples of other forms of government and political systems in the world by explaining how and why democratic institutions and interpretations of democratic ideals and constitutional principles change over time.
    • Geography
      • Geography 1 (D2): Students understand the geography of the United States and various regions of the world and the effect of geographic influences on decisions about the present and future by using inquiry to predict and evaluate consequences of geographic influences.
    • History
      • History 1 (D2): Students understand major eras, major enduring themes, and historic influences in United States and world history, including the roots of democratic philosophy, ideals, and institutions in the world by analyzing and critiquing major historical eras: major enduring themes, turning points, events, consequences, and people in the history of the world and the implications for the present and future.
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