Purdue University

Environmental Justice

The Center for the Environment has long-term interest in supporting research in, and programming on, aspects of environmental and social justice with particular emphasis on how research on topics ranging from systems of governance over environmental resources, to the right to live in safe and healthy communities to promotion of healthy ecosystems, and how these issues overlap and intersect.

Below, you will find a range of ways in which the Center promotes these goals through programming, research and educational events.

Land Acknowledgement

Purdue University is located in the traditional homelands of the Woodland People. We honor and appreciate these Indigenous caretakers which include the Bodéwadmik (Potawatomi), Lenape (Delaware), Myaamia (Miami), and Shawnee People.

2021 Symposium: Next Steps – Environmental Justice, Climate Change, and Racial Justice

The Center for the Environment is working with several organizations on campus and in conjunction with several other institutions of higher education in Indiana (Notre Dame, IUPUI, IU Bloomington) to organize a free two-day virtual, regional symposium entitled, “Next Steps – Environmental Justice, Climate Change, and Racial Justice,” on March 25-26, 2021. Registration is free through the Purdue Hall of Music.

Learn more about the Symposium, register to attend, and view the schedule here.

Environmental Justice Resource List

This round-up offers a curated resource list for scholars, practitioners, students, and activists interested in intersections among environmentalism, conservation, justice, and racism. Organized conceptually and thematically, this is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather one of many resources available that can generate new conversations in the classroom, in workshops, and across communities.

We thank the many contributors who provided feedback and suggestions for this document. This work was initiated by members of the Building Sustainable Communities Signature Research Area, Center for the Environment, Purdue University. Contributors included environmental justice scholars, activists, and artists from Purdue University and beyond. A special thanks to Zhao Ma, Malik Raymond, Melissa Poe, Shannon McMullen, Teresa Mares, Andrew Flachs, and Jennifer Johnson for their comments and contributions. Laura Zanotti served as the resource curator.

Environmental Justice Events

2020 Lunch & Learn Series

Virtual Lunch & Learn: Environmental Justice, Local and Global Struggles

Dr. Mangala Subramaniam presented our first virtual Lunch & Learn event of the Fall 2020 semester on September 9, focusing on the complicated links between local and global struggles for environmental justice as communities confront state and global institutions. She drew on her own, and collaborative, work to engage with the topic in terms of gender and its intersections with class, caste, race, as well as the need for integrating the technical and the social to adopt an interdisciplinary lens in studying environmental justice.

Virtual Lunch & Learn: Environmental Justice and Public Health, Exposure and Other Stressors

Continuing the Center for the Environment’s year-long program of conversations about intersections between environmental and social justice, Dr. Ellen Wells, Center affiliate and Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health, spoke on some of the history and scope of environmental justice as a critical environmental and public health concern. She also discussed in detail her experience in interacting with a community facing environmental justice issues in East Chicago, Indiana.

Virtual Lunch & Learn: Intersections between Environmental Justice & Indigenous Rights

Building on the Center for the Environment’s year-long program of conversations about intersections between environmental and social justice, Dr. Laura Zanotti, Center Associate Director and Professor in Anthropology, highlights frameworks of environmental justice and ways they have been mobilized at both sites of global environmental governance and in national contexts to support Indigenous Peoples' rights. Reflecting on collaborative partnerships with Mebêngôkre-Kayapó Peoples, she details current threats facing Indigenous Peoples rights in Brazil and pursuits for justice.

2020 - 2021 Environmental Justice Film Series


March 25, 2021 - Sembradoras de Vida


February 18, 2021 - Return to the Andes


November 23, 2020 - Tambien la Lluvia


October 28, 2020 - Hija de la Laguna