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Environmental Justice Word Bank CONSOLIDATED BY THE OFFICE OF SUSTAINABILITY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT

THIS COMPILED LIST OF DEFINITIONS SERVES TO STRUCTURE CONVERSATIONS AND CHALLENGE COMMON CONCEPTIONS

Please keep in mind:

  • These words are open to interpretation/evolution
  • Please let individuals identify themselves and don't assume their preferences!
  • Many words in many different languages have oppressive histories and underlying meanings
  • Be critical of the language you use, as it has historical meaning and is constantly evolving

RACE vs. ETHNICITY

ETHNICITY: categorization based on shared cultural expression, history, and identification

African American (ethnicity): Americans with ancestry from the black racial groups of Africa. Denotes descendants of enslaved black people (ADOS) who are from the United States.

RACE: socially constructed categorization based on perceived-shared physical characteristics

***Racial categories were created by the oppressor in order to justify the oppression of certain groups. We must be mindful that these words are identifiers of visual appearance, rather than justifiable categories that make humans substantially different from one another.

ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM

DEFINITION: the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on people of color due to systemic racism.

Environmental justice addresses environmental racism by including necessary B.I.POC voices within environmental spaces

UConn graduate Himaja Nagireddy created the Environmental Justice Toolkit during her undergraduate career as a way to teach others about environmental justice. She used her experiences at COP@25 and relevant examples to provide an opportunity for others to take action to support the environmental justice movement. Himaja is an elected representative of the National Council for the United Nations Association of the USA, where she works with over 20,000 members to coordinate efforts to support the ideals and vital work of the United Nations.

BIPOC: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. An acronym that relays the communities often marginalized on the basis of race and ethnicity. Debated by many, not always preferred!

UN’s Meaning of Indigenous

INTERSECTIONALITY

DEFINITION: a lens through which you can see the places where power structures collide, interlock, and intersect

Coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw (original journal)

Gloria Walton & SCOPE: What is SCOPE?

INTERSECTIONAL ENVIRONMENTALISM: an inclusive version of environmentalism that advocates for both the protection of people + the planet. It identifies the ways in which injustices happening to marginalized communities and the earth are interconnected. It brings injustices done to the most vulnerable communities, and the earth, to the forefront and does not minimize or silence social inequality.

Intersectional Environmentalism

MISOGYNOIR: misogyny directed towards black women where both race and gender introduce bias.

Coined by queer black feminist Moya Bailey

MICRO and MACRO AGGRESSIONS

MICROAGGRESSION: comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously/unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group

  • Ex. “Where are you really from?”
  • Ex. ”You’re so articulate!”

MACROAGGRESSION: large scale aggression toward a member of a marginalized group

  • Ex. physical assault, use of racial slurs

The What, the Why, and the How: A Review of Racial Microaggressions Research in Psychology

SYSTEMIC VS. SYSTEMATIC RACISM

SYSTEMIC: affecting the whole; system-wide

  • Systemic Racism is prejudice and discrimination based solely on race and occurs in the whole societal system of a nation

SYSTEMATIC: a methodical action that is done according to a fixed plan or procedure

  • Systematic Racism is prejudice or discrimination methodically implemented according to a fixed plan or procedure against a race

Systemic vs. Systematic Racism

EQUALITY vs. EQUITY

EQUALITY: giving everyone the exact same resources

EQUITY: distributing resources based on the needs of the recipients, to end in the same relative place

Equality vs. Equity

DIVERSITY vs. INCLUSION vs. BELONGING

DIVERSITY: the who; individuals of varying characteristics and identities

  • Identities include gender, religion, race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education level, etc.

INCLUSION: the how; behaviors that welcome and embrace diversity

BELONGING: the feeling of security & support when there is a sense of acceptance

  • The basic fundamental drive to form and maintain lasting, positive, and significant relationships with others

Diversity vs. Inclusion vs. Belonging