Environmental Justice: Sustainability is a Social Justice Issue

Environmental Justice
  • Though all people will feel the impacts of climate change, it will not impact everyone equally. Changes in the environment disproportionately impact the poor and people of color.
  • Social justice leaders have noted that justice for our planet and justice for all people are two profound conversations that are happening simultaneously, but often in different rooms. At this point in human history we cannot afford to separate these conversations.
  • Flint, Michigan is a prime example of this convergence of social and environmental issues. Access to clean water became the driving issue for this community, which is disproportionately comprised of the poor and people of color.
  • We saw this convergence when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.
  • Indeed, these social groups face not only the threat of environmental devastation but also must deal daily with multiple systems of oppression.

Queens University and the Environment: Our Work Starts Here

Environmental Justice
  • "Sustainability is extremely important to me, and of course to our future. I am eager to move our campus in the right direction." Daniel G. Lugo, President, Queens University.
  • Earlier this year President Lugo announced the formation of a comprehensive, campus-wide initiative called "Sustainable QU." This team of students, faculty and staff will be working to develop the broader environmental goals and objectives for the University. This overarching effort will integrate and inform the separate efforts of various existing environmental groups which have been working independently.

Our Support of Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice
  • In 2019 to 2021, the Greenspon Center's Environmental Justice team comprised of students, faculty and community members worked to inform and support Queens University's efforts, and to integrate them with other social justice initiatives.
  • We conducted solid research to provide facts regarding student, faculty and staff attitudes and priorities and will be sharing the findings this fall. We will work with Sustainable QU and all environmental groups to help drive further action.
  • We advocated for robust academic classes and environmental programs at QU so we can better understand and address environmental justice issues.
  • Interested in participating? Please contact faculty co-chair, Greg Johnson (