About EJ/CJ – The Environmental & Climate Justice Studies Digital Hub


The EJ/CJ Digital Hub is designed to focus the work of our Orfalea Center research hub into a useful tool for anyone seeking to better understand and participate in the production of knowledge that promotes the achievement of environmental and climate justice.

We aim to provide a platform for justice-oriented work here at USCB that reaches across the University of California system to the changing world that constitutes our various research objects.

Think of this site as an experimental laboratory for knowledge projects and knowledge networks that share our desire to counteract the spectacular forces of environmental destruction and climate chaos gathering everywhere, on every horizon.

We hope visitors will find something here that captures their attention and motivates them to reflect on their own work and how it might contribute to the EJ/CJ mission of producing knowledge, art, literature, films and human network connections that help secure a more livable future on an environmentally friendly planet.

There’s a lot more we could say …  why not write and tell us your thoughts?

Alenda Chang

Film & Media Studies

John Foran

Sociology & Environmental Studies

Summer Gray

Environmental Studies

Hahrie Han

Political Science

Ken Hiltner


Melody Jue


ann-elise lewallan

East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies

David Pellow

Environmental Studies

Elana Faye Resnick


Richard Widick

Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies


The Climate Justice Project

John Foran
Professor of Sociology & Environmental Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

What is the relationship of social movements to Environmental & Climate Justice Studies?

THE CLIMATE JUSTICE PROJECT creates a space for academically-affiliated people to work on issues of climate justice, share resources, collaborate, and engage with community-based efforts. This project is carried out in the interest of building bridges between the university and community, as well as building power in the climate justice movement in both settings.

We have members from around the world. Each member works in the particular context of their institution and communities, building powerful connections within the university and between the university and communities all over the world. Our aim is to scale up to a powerful movement for climate justice across our global network.

The Climate Justice Press

John Foran
Professor of Sociology & Environmental Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

What is the idea behind the Climate Justice Press?


Climate chaos. President Trump. The sixth extinction.

The Anthropocene arrives.

These epochal developments compound exponentially today’s interlinked crises of predatory neoliberal capitalism, widening disenchantment with political parties, genocidal militarism, and everyday cultures of violence, just as they unleash rampant inequality, suffering, incarceration, and forced migration, stealing lives and livelihoods.

Who is responsible for this devastation to families and communities on the front lines of impact, communities who are also often the least responsible for the changing climate?

What nations and militaries, which corporations and banks, and what structures of power enable this state of affairs?

And what if this didn’t have to be the end of the story? What if we set off in a different direction?

Where there is oppression, there is also agency and resistance. Communities, peoples, allied species, and Mother Earth herself are fighting back against the dystopian status quo of the one percent.

Collectively and loosely, these risings trace the contours of the global climate justice movement.

We are standing together across regional and cultural lines in defiant movements of opposition and visionary acts of creation.

Our vision for the Climate Justice Press is to be a vehicle to affirm these struggles and nurture their visions of better futures.

We intend this space to be one of radical imagination, supportive yet critical thinking, and, ultimately, a nonviolent weapon of mass creation.

In Cruising Utopia, José Esteban Muñoz refers to an “unforeclosed expectancy” that involves “finding the openness where an unknown or queer futurity might start, a journey with companions and with a destination difficult to know in advance,” as Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Julian Yates have eloquently put it.

We will publish works from and about the climate justice movement, testimonies, eyewitness accounts, the first drafts of a new history – fiction, non-fiction, and everything in between.

We leave at dawn.

Join us.

There will be dancing.

The Environmental Humanities Initiative

Ken Hiltner
Professor of English Literature
University of California, Santa Barbara

What can literature and literary theory contribute to Environmental & Climate Justice Studies?

THE ENVIRONMENTAL HUMANITIES INITIATIVE (EHI) fosters and consolidates the diverse environmental humanities programing that takes place at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB). Our website provides information about our innovative graduate and undergraduate degree programs, courses, faculty, research, campus events, and much more. Begin scrolling down for brief overviews of this programing and links to in-depth material.

This EHI also provides an introduction to the environmental humanities. Not sure just what the environmental humanities are, or what they involve? This website supplies a range of resources that may be used in the classroom or by anyone interested in learning more. We have selected a number of books, films, and artworks, many of which can be sampled directly from this website, that are of special interest from the perspective of the environmental humanities.

The Global Environmental Justice Project

David Pellow
Professor of Environmental Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Questions of justice orient a great deal of research in Environmental Studies — what does the emergent field of Environmental & Climate Justice Studies have to add?

THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE PROJECT at UCSB is a force for supporting, encouraging, and launching a range of efforts on and off-campus, locally and globally that link research, teaching, service, and action for environmental justice. Environmental justice is the integration of social justice and human rights with efforts to secure ecological sustainability. The GEJP supports faculty, students, staff, entrepreneurs, artists, film makers, EJ advocates, and community leaders in their efforts to explore new ideas, questions, and possibilities for studying, learning about, communicating, and promoting environmental justice.

The International Institute of Climate Action & Theory (IICAT)

Richard Widick, Visiting Scholar
Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Why is critical literary, social, and media theory crucial for Environmental & Climate Justice Studies?

THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF CLIMATE ACTION AND THEORY is a public-facing climate-focused transformative knowledge network, research collaboration forum, and media hub. The website is our research archive — like a public file cabinet with which we share our sources and publish our work.

Our Mission begins with the better understanding of global warming, climate change, and the ensuing international struggle to institute the just rule of law in defense of planetary ecology and its constituent peoples and species.

Toward that end, we work to render climate science, economic history, civil society (including its constituent social movements), and the institutions of emergent global economic and environmental governance accessible to the general public—while also striving to make such lay-knowledge available and useful to a wide range of interdisciplinary scientists, NGOs, scholars, theorists and activists.

IICAT Director Richard Widick holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he lectured on theory, culture, media, globalization, social movements and environment before coming to the Orfalea Center.

He is the author of Trouble in the Forest: California’s Redwood Timber Wars (University of Minnesota Press, 2009), an ethnography, cultural analysis and 150 year social history of the US colonization and industrialization of California’s northern redwood region—a history of the Indian wars and labor trouble that set the legal, social and ecological conditions for converging peoples, labor and environmental movements in the present era of globalization.

In new research aimed at further integrating global studies and cultural sociology with media and environmental theory, Widick scales up his institutional analysis of US culture to the international scene of western modernity and the UN climate negotiations.

Widick publicizes his climate-related work at iicat.org, including his current 5-year research project with John Foran, Human Rights & Climate Justice After the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.


Knowledge Action Network & Digital Platform

John Foran
Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Summer Gray
Professor of Environmental Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Ken Hiltner
Professor of English
University of California, Santa Barbara

David Pellow
Professor of Environmental Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Richard Widick
Visiting Scholar, Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

What can and should be the roles of educators and education in the founding of Environmental & Climate Justice Studies?

UC-CSU NXTerra is a Knowledge Action Network (KAN) and digital platform for climate educators, developed by faculty across the University of California and California State University systems.

Recognizing the severity of the climate crisis, we are driven by profound and renewed belief in the power of education to help reimagine and build a better, more sustainable and environmentally just world, or “next Earth.”

Although the scale of the problem demands that academia, the sciences, business, government, and the public quickly begin acting in concert to achieve the best possible outcomes, decades of inaction rooted in interest-driven policy disagreements have ushered in a new era of environmental and climate policy crises.

The range of possible results includes widely divergent “next Earths” and any number of paths forward.

As University of California and California State University-based educators focused on climate change, critical sustainability, and climate justice studies, our responsibility could not be greater to our students—the generation that will forge the ideas that will determine which “next Earth” will be our home.

To that end, NXTerra produces, curates, and delivers climate change, critical sustainability, and climate justice education resources for educators of every discipline—from the arts and humanities to the human and social sciences and the natural sciences—with a vision of sharing resources to accelerate climate education and action in California and beyond.

College-level educators in all fields who wish to enable their students to apply their knowledge in innovative ways to real-world problems will find here many resources to support them in teaching and collaborating with their students in an ambitious and wide-ranging project—imagining and creating “a just transition to the next Earth”—by reshaping our relationships with each other and the systems and institutions that determine the quality of life today for our own communities and communities around the world.

By foregrounding the work of University of California and California State University educators, NXTerra seeks to further the goals of the Carbon Neutrality Initiative (CNI) of the University of California Office of the President (UCOP).

This is an attitude of “putting our heads together” and getting to work.

Our combined efforts are aimed at driving the deep culture shift both inside our two university systems, as well as outside, in our common broader global civil society.

NXTerra will launch publicly in the Fall of 2019

NXTerra emerges in 2019 from the work begun by the UC-CSU KAN in 2017-18.

NXTerra follows the UC-CSU KAN in starting from the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4, as defined in the 2015 UN publication of Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development:

Target 4.7 – “To ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.”

Like the UC-CSU KAN before us, NXTerra its our approach to confronting the pressing social and existential challenges of the climate crisis on the foundational perspective of climate justice, seen as a global issue and a universal right of humanity and of nature generally.

Stay tuned to this channel for news of our public launch in Fall 2019.

How we got started …

We stood out under the open sky and turned our thoughts to the future …

We decided to combine and focus our work…  and to act!

Our critical theories, philosophies and methods

Today’s (hyper)modern, carbon-fueled industrial societies and cultures are producing ecological destruction at alarming rates, portending a future of environmental reckoning that daily appears closer in time and increasingly difficult and expensive to contain.

A key aim of EJ/CJ is to engage these societies and cultures and investigate the inequalities that both follow from and drive forward their addiction to carbon-fueled maldevelopment.

To this end we draw on the Humanities and Social Sciences for critical notions of meaning and narrative, racial formation, gender studies, feminist theory, economic development, environmental history, media studies, and film and literary theory to guide our engagement with these processes and sensitize us to the social problems and environmental challenges they produce.