Environmental & Climate Justice Studies



UC Santa Barbara


defending environments & the climate


The eye of super typhoon Maysak, March 31, 2015

[PHOTO: NASA 2013]


defending environments & the climate

corporate Caracas skyline with No Carbon graffiti

[PHOTO: Widick 2006]

Columbia Glacier, NASA HYPERWALL


defending environments & the climate

[PHOTO: NASA 2014]

Night Lights


defending environments & the climate

[PHOTO: NASA 2012]

Signing of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Paris, 2015


defending environments & the climate

[PHOTO: Widick 2015]

World Social Forum 6 Street Mural, Caracas, Venezuela


defending environments & the climate

[PHOTO: Widick 2006]



defending environments & the climate

[PHOTO: Widick 2009]

literary and social

Pipeline Protest, Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, March10, 2017


defending environments & the climate

[PHOTO: Jim Dougherty 2017]



WELCOME to the EJ/CJ Digital Hub, a project of the Environmental & Climate Justice Studies Research Hub (EJ/CJ) at UCSB’s Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies — working to advance scholar-activism across the horizon of globalization, in defense of vulnerable human communities, fragile environments and a just climate future.

Today’s most pressing environmental problems come to us nested inside an historical moment characterized by growing racial and gender formations of economic inequality, increasingly neoliberal and authoritarian political institutions, ongoing degradation of human rights and public discourse, and pernicious forms of institutional violence that cut across and exacerbate each of these concerns.

EJ/CJ brings together scholars to engage with these global drivers of environmental and climate crisis and investigate their deep structures and histories. We seek to produce critical knowledges at the intersection of the humanities and social sciences, build transformative knowledge networks that bridge academic, social movement, and policy domains, and actively intervene publicly in each of these crucial zones of conflict.

EJ/CJ is currently comprised of seven Constituent Projects and convenes eleven UCSB scholars: Alenda Chang, Auli Ek, John Foran, Summer Gray, Hahrie Hahn, Ken Hiltner, Melody Jue, ann-elise lewallen, David Pellow, Elana Resnick, and Richard Widick. If you think that your work can contribute to our mission of building the UC community of Environmental and Climate Justice Studies, we invite you to contact us and tell us how you would like to get involved.

Please scroll down and visit our Constituent Projects, our news and events calendars, and our pathways into emergent environmental/climate governance and social movements at every scale, as well as our growing archives of EJ/CJ films, photography, literature, and manifestos from around the world.



The Climate Justice Project

Climate Justice Press

… a Punctum Books imprint


The Environmental Humanities Initiative


The Global Environmental Justice Project


The International Institute of Climate Action & Theory


UC-CSU Knowledge Action Network



SUMMIT: California’s Gov. Jerry Brown to host GLOBAL CLIMATE ACTION SUMMIT, San Francisco, CA, Sept 12-14, 2018


CONFERENCE: Climate Justice & the Humanities online mini-conference, Loras College, Dubuque, IO, Nov. 26, 2017


CONFERENCE: UNFCCC Climate Talks, Bonn, Germany, April 30 – May 10, 2018

What is driving environmental & climate injustice?

Rising inequality associated with ongoing economic globalization exacerbates environmental problems and politics, inhibiting effective justice-driven local self-governance as well as the massive collective national and international responses that the Nations have decided are necessary.

The end result? … an accumulation of local, place-based environmental grievances across the horizon of globalization.

At each of these places, individual and collective political demands emerge as a growing cry for fair governance and equitable sharing of the social and environmental costs of economic expansion.

Such demands set the stage for democratic renewal at every scale, from local to global, across that same horizon.

On the global scale, take for example the emergence of international environmental self-governance.

From the UN’s 1972  Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, which produced the Stockholm Declaration and the UN Report on the Human Environment, to the UN’s 1982 World Charter for Nature, its 1987 Brundtland Report (Our Common Future), its 1992 Rio Earth Summit (Rio Declaration on Environment & Development; Agenda 21; United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), its 1997 Kyoto Protocol, and finally its 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, the peoples and nations of planet earth have grown increasingly adept at self-organizing international spaces for the collective management of environmental problems.

But how well do these efforts understand and respond to the role of carbon-fueled economic expansion in driving the accumulation of environmental problems, and how well have the policy responses they generate actually mitigated the damages or ameliorated the consequent suffering of the multitudes?

What accounts for the common disconnect between those who have benefitted the most from carbon maldevelopment and those who suffer the worst of its effects?

Consider how UN-led stewardship of the post-war economy championed free trade globalization, effectively ramping up global economic productivity and churning out previously undreamed of wealth—but also producing dramatic global inequalities.

Will UN environment and climate initiatives reproduce those same inequalities in the distribution of access to environmental values?

And if so, will it mean that we have learned nothing from the 20th century? from the myriad novels and films and poems and essays of the colonized, conquered and cajoled? or from the colonizers and conquerers themselves?

How can we learn to better hear and feel the voices ringing out from these places of conflicts?

Questions of meaning, interpretation and translation, native to the humanities but underdeveloped in the social sciences, will be crucial tools in the coming years and decades of struggle.

We will thus need more than our social sciences and histories, more than our literatures and philosophies.

We will need new hybrid forms of engagement and understanding for a new century of struggles, we will need to remember, and we will need time.

EJ/CJ proceeds from a profound belief that, with insight and perspective garnered from both the social sciences and the humanities, these pages can contribute to re-engineering the carbon-fueled cultural economies that are currently devastating our shared environments and driving our common climate into chaos.

QUOTE: Last year saw the biggest increase in billionaires in history, one more every two days. Billionaires saw their wealth increase by $762bn in 12 months. This huge increase could have ended global extreme poverty seven times over. 82% of all wealth created in the last year went to the top 1%, while the bottom 50% saw no increase at all. Dangerous, poorly paid work for the many is supporting extreme wealth for the few. Women are in the worst work, and almost all the super-rich are men. Governments must create a more equal society by prioritizing ordinary workers and small-scale food producers instead of the rich and powerful (OXFAM Report, January 2018). Download the OXFAM Report

Understanding the outsized role of the so-called Carbon Majors is a crucial task for environmental & climate justice studies …

{ see our numbered footnotes to selected carbon majors below }


Learn about Chevron/Texaco’s toxic legacy in Richmond, California


Read about Chevron’s 2012 Refinery Explosion in Richmond, CA.


Read about Chevron/Texaco in Ecuador – decades of destruction and struggle


Read the 2011 UNEP report detailing Shell’s history in the Niger river delta.


Saudi Aramco, state oil company of Saudi Arabia


Read about British Petroleum’s Gulf Oil Spill …

Read more about the carbon majors


At the convergence of Peoples, Labor, and Environmental Movements, where environmental policy is being made at every scale


Voluntary organizations keeping watch on the political sphere at every scale


Environmental & Climate Justice Films

Photography in the Conflict Zones

CONFLICT ZONE: The Tar Sands Industrial Region of Alberta, Canada

Garth Lenz, Canadian photographer

TED Talk & Slide Show The True Cost of Oil (revealing the extent of and the dangers of the tar sands industrial transformation of the Canadian heartland).

The photography of Garth Lenz.

Environmental Literature

Caroline Matilda Kirkland:

A New Home, Who’ll Follow? Or, Glimpses of Western Life (1839) —

Henry David Thoreau:

— Walden (1854) —

George Marsh:

— Man and Nature (1864) —

Frederick Jackson Turner:

The Frontier in American History (book, 1893) —

The Significance of the Frontier in American History (paper, 1893) —

John Muir:

—  My first summer in the Sierra (1911) —

A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf (1916) —

Environmental & Climate Justice Manifestos from around the world!

“As we hurtle into the twenty-first
century, oil is still King. But it does
not rule benevolently. Rather, the
reign of those who control the
politics of petroleum continues to
undermine democracy while fostering
human rights violations and
environmental disasters across the
Earth …”  Read more here.

Greenhouse Gangsters versus Climate JusticeCorpwatch coins the term "Climate Justice" in 1999 ...

2004 – The Climate Justice Declaration was penned at the conference titled  “Just Climate? Pursuing Environmental Justice in the Face of Global Climate Change” — convened by the Environmental Justice Initiative at the University of Michigan.  Read it here

The First Climate Justice Manifesto?


The Environmental & Climate Justice Studies Research Hub

A project at the Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies, University of California.


Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies

“Providing an intellectual and programmatic focus for the University’s activities in global, international, and area studies.

While the Center is administratively located in the Division of Social Sciences in the College of Letters and Sciences, the Center’s Executive Committee includes faculty from across UCSB’s Colleges and Schools.”

Girvetz Hall, rooms 2317-2328, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-2150

Institute For Social, Economic and Behavioral Research, 2201 North Hall UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-2150

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