Working Group on Environmental Justice
In association with Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research
  James Hoyte and Timothy C. Weiskel
Program Directors

      Issues of environmental justice are growing in importance in several areas. On the domestic front it has long been recognized that environmental amenities on the one hand and toxic waste sites on the other are not uniformly distributed in reference to income group, class or ethnic communities. On an international scale as well there are marked and increasing disparities in the world community between those who have access to clean and safe resources and those who do not. Disparities of this nature may be the result of historical circumstance, contemporary economic and trade relations or simply inadequate or inappropriate governmental regulation. Whatever their source, it is clear that an interdisciplinary approach is needed both to understand and ameliorate these problems.

      With initial support from the university Provost's Fund for Interfaculty Collaboration and the University Committee on Environment the interfaculty Working Group on Environmental Justice was originally created at Harvard as an interdisciplinary and university-wide effort to examine issues of environmental justice both within this country and around the world. The Law School, the Kennedy School, the School of Public Health, the Divinity School, the Business School, the School of Education and various departments within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences all contain people and resources devoted to exploring problems of environmental justice in one form or another. Our attempt in this university-wide effort was to bring together faculty members from these schools and departments to meet monthly and share their understandings and perspectives on these matters. Through these exchanges we felt we could better assess how Harvard's various departments, faculties and schools might contribute to analyzing and resolving some of the problems in this important new area of public concern and policy consideration.

      Since 2007 the emphasis of the Working Group has been to convene and present a annual university course in the Spring Semester through the Harvard Extension School. This course, entitled, "An Introduction to Environmental Justice" has been conducted on campus at Harvard but it has been made available as well as a "distance education" course through the online facilities of the Harvard Extension School.

Those interested in further information about the Working Group may contact the
Program Directors, James Hoyte or Timothy C. Weiskel.