People over Plastic is a media platform for multicultural changemakers to hear powerful, intergenerational, and solutions-oriented conversations that center the intersection between environmental and racial justice. 

On this page, you’ll discover some helpful resources  that will help you as an educator introduce the power of storytelling to a new generation of social advocates. These classroom resources provide learners with valuable information and a deeper understanding of how to amplify voices in ways that serve community goals effectively and respectfully.

Environmental Justice Reading Guide

Our list of recommended reading aims to fill the knowledge gap many people have about the meaning of environmental justice, especially within the context of broader racial justice topics. It provides a list of foundational readings that aim to educate, engage, and instigate curiosity in students who are considering a career in environmental justice advocacy.

We also include specific articles about the importance of storytelling and first-person narratives. Environmental studies, law and critical race studies curriculums often fail to expose students to the utility and art of storytelling. Yet, first person narratives are vital, yet often overlooked sources of information, especially in the law and legal systems. 

  • Dorceta Taylor, Toxic Communities: Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution and Residential Mobility (2014)
  • Richard Rothstein, The Color of the Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (2017);
  • Sheila Foster, The Challenge of Environmental Justice, 1 Rutgers J.L. & Urb. Pol’y 1, 10 (2004)
  • David M. Konisky, et al., Failed Promises: Evaluating the Federal Government’s Response to Environmental Justice (David M. Konisky ed. 2015)
  • Watch: Peggy Shepard Interview 
  • Watch: Dr. Robert Bullard synopsis of environmental justice
  • Bella Lack, Storytelling Will Save the Earth, Wired (Dec. 16, 2022), https://www.wired.com/story/environment-climate-change-storytelling/
  • Elizabeth Dickinson, Addressing Environmental Racism Through Storytelling: Toward an Environmental Justice Narrative Framework, 5 Comm. Culture & Critique 57 (2012): https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1753-9137.2012.01119.x
  • Angus Nurse, Law, the environment and narrative storytelling (2019): Law, the environment and narrative storytelling | 22 | Routledge Handb 
  • Richard Delgado, Storytelling for Oppositionists and Others: A Plea for Narrative, 87 Mich. L. Rev. 2411 (1989)
  • Richard Delgado & Jean Stefancic, Legal Storytelling and Narrative Analysis, in CRITICAL RACE THEORY (Third Edition) (2017). 
  • Toxic Wastes and Race at Twenty Report pp. 7-83
  • Union Hill Decision
  • The 17 Principles of Environmental Justice
  • Paul Mohai & Robin Saha, Which Came First, People or Pollution? A Review of Theory and Evidence from Longitudinal Environmental Justice Studies, 10 Env’t Rsch. Letters 125,011, at 7 (2015)
  • Sheila R. Foster, Vulnerability, Equality and Environmental Justice: The Potential and Limits of Law, in The Routledge Handbook of Environmental Justice, 136–137 (Ryan Holifield, Jayajit Chakraborty & Gordon Walker eds., 2017)
  • Patrice L. Simms, Leveraging Supplemental Environmental Projects: Toward an Integrated Strategy for Empowering Environmental Justice Communities, 47 Env’t L. Rep. News & Analysis, 10,511 (2017)
  • Shalanda H. Baker, Anti-Resilience: A Roadmap for Transformational Justice within the Energy System, 54 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 1, 6 (2019)
  • Robert D. Bullard, Introduction: Environmental Justice—Once a Footnote, Now a Headline, 45 Harv. Env’t L. Rev. 243 (2021)
  • Jennifer D. Roberts, et al., “I Can’t Breathe”: Examining the Legacy of American Racism on Determinants of Health and the Ongoing Pursuit of Environmental Justice, doi: 10.1007/s40572-022-00343-x (2022)
  • Helen Sprainer, Air Quality Equity: Why the Clean Air Act Failed to Protect Low-Income Communities and Communities of Color from COVID-19, 30 NYU Env’t L. J. 123 (2022)
  • Britney Wilson, Making Me Ill: Environmental Racism and Justice as Disability, 170 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1722 (2022).

Plastic and Climate Change

The plastics industry is the fastest-growing source of industrial greenhouse gases in the world. The UN Environment Programme estimates that the greenhouse gas emissions from plastic production, use and disposal could account for 15 percent of the total global carbon budget by 2050, making it hard to meet global targets without cutting emissions elsewhere. 

This brief mentions the most important facts about the link between plastic and planetary warming, and is recommended reading for any climate change activist.


Grassroots Glossary

Environmental Justice is a term we often see in the headlines these days whether it’s connected to a groundbreaking lawsuit here in the U.S., or a group of nations struggling to confront the devastating impacts of the climate crisis. Environmental Justice is such a pressing matter in our modern society that even the Biden administration recently announced it’s creating an entirely new office fully dedicated to Environmental Justice issues.

The reality is, while it may seem like a buzzword today, Environmental Justice goes back generations. But what exactly does it mean and who does it affect?


“Cop City” Lesson Plan

In Season 3, Episode 2: the Hot Seat, we hear from Jacqueline Echols about what’s happening in Atlanta where the South River Forest - one of the four “city lungs” - is under attack. In this lesson plan, learners will achieve the following learning objectives:
  • Understand how the construction of a massive police training center impacts on human health both physical and mental, with which the majority- Black community is already disproportionately affected.
  • Identify who is backing “Cop City”.
  • Understand what organizing against “Cop City” looks like, including demonstrations, environmental analysis, and research aimed at city officials.
  • Understand the link between environmental justice and racial justice.
© People over Plastic 2024
© People over Plastic 2023