Publication Review
Three top-read Articles from the Environmental Justice Journal
By Götz Kaufmann, 2015-11-22
As editor-in-Chief of the Journal Environmental Justice Sylvia Hood Washington, PhD, MSE, MPH informed recently, the Environmental Justice Journal grants free access to some top-read articles through December 1, 2015. The download link will be provided at the end of the abstract of each article:

Title: Sacrifice Along the Energy Continuum: A Call for Energy Justice

The first article was published by Hernández Diana in Environmental Justice 8(4) on August 18, 2015.


The confluence of energy supply- and demand-side dynamics links vulnerable communities along the spectrum of energy production and consumption. The disproportionate burden borne by vulnerable communities along the energy continuum are seldom examined simultaneously. Yet, from a justice perspective there are important parallels that merit further exploration in the United States and beyond. A first step is to understand links to vulnerability and justice along the energy continuum by way of theoretical constructs and practical applications. The present article posits energy as a social and environmental justice issue and advances our current understanding of the links between energy and vulnerability, particularly in the U.S. context. Drawing on several emerging concepts including, "energy sacrifice zones," "energy insecurity" and "energy justice," this article lays a foundation for examining critical sacrifices along the energy continuum. To conclude, four basic rights are proposed as a starting point to achieve recognition and equity for vulnerable populations in the realm of energy.

Please find the download link to the article here.

Title: Whatever Works: Legal Tactics and Scientific Evidence in Environmental Justice Cases

The second provided article was published by Zachek Christine M., Rubin Staci M., and Scammell Madeleine K. in Environmental Justice 8(1) on February 16, 2015.


The objective of this study was to investigate legal tactics employed by lawyers in Massachusetts working on environmental justice cases, and to explore lawyers' perceptions and uses of scientific expertise and data. Semi-structured one-on-one interviews with eight lawyers in Massachusetts focused on each lawyer's most recent environmental justice case, opinions on future legislation, and interactions with scientific data. Currently, there is no environmental justice law in Massachusetts. Lawyers practicing environmental justice often employ a “whatever works” approach to achieve the desired results of their client groups. While there was consensus among the lawyers regarding the need for science in their work, they were apprehensive about scientists' communication styles, costs of data and expertise, and definitions of causation. However, the interviewees admitted that scientific data can inform community organizing, media messaging, lobbying efforts, negotiations, and other tactics often employed to achieve environmental justice. Findings suggest a framework for how lawyers perceive their environmental justice cases. The results highlight tensions between law and science in the field of environmental justice, whose resolution would have implications for environmental equity and public health more broadly. Increased collaboration and understanding of both legal and scientific underpinnings may lead to more productive lawyer-scientist partnerships.

Please find the download link to the article here.

Title: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Worker Training Program: Perspectives on the Health and Safety of Workers, Volunteers, and Residents Involved in the Cleanup and Rebuilding of New York City Housing Damaged by Hurricane Sandy

The third article was published by Rosen Jonathan, Miller Aubrey, Hughes Joseph (Chip) Jr., and Remington James in Environmental Justice 8(3) on June 15, 2015.


Hurricane Sandy damaged or destroyed 76,000 buildings with over 300,000 housing units; nine percent of the total housing in New York City. Sandy also damaged 405 New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) buildings, affecting 35,000 units. Affected residents were forced to move in with family, temporary housing, or endured long periods without heat or electricity, as most building systems were located in flooded basements. Additionally, workers, volunteers, and residents who engaged in cleanup were potentially exposed to raw sewage, mold, asbestos, lead, dust, carbon monoxide, as well as electrocution; slips, trips, and falls; and construction-related safety hazards. Stress and trauma were also significant. These exposures may cause death, disease, and injury. The need to provide protection programs and effective training crosses a number of populations including day laborers, volunteer groups, and residents who are involved in cleanup and rebuilding. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Worker Training Program (WTP) has provided funding to more than 20 grantees including universities, labor unions, and other organizations to provide effective worker health and safety and disaster preparedness and response training for more than 20 years. This has built a critical infrastructure in the targeted industrial sectors and unions. WTP has also been active in disasters including September 11, Katrina, the Gulf oil spill, and Sandy. Preventing injury and disease in all the groups that are involved in disaster response, cleanup, and rebuilding warrants extending the NIEHS health and safety programs to volunteers, residents, and worker populations who previously have not had access to hazardous materials and related training programs. This can be accomplished by adapting health and safety programs and just-in-time training to the needs and cultures of these groups. These efforts should also further ongoing approaches to empower grantees and end-users so that they can independently build dynamic health and safety and training programs into their disaster preparedness and response work.

Please find the download link to the article here.

Image: © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.