Environmental Justice career services information

"When justice and equity--for both people and the environment--are integrated with societal achievement, true progress can occur. The only way that happens is from the ground up. By studying the past and contemporary, Environmental Justice students understand the severity of the present, while working for a better future." -Paul Mansoor, SNRE EJ Alum.  

"An EJ graduate is uniquely valuable because of: a strong understanding of social justice and equity, and an ability to apply that lens to concrete problems; a background in the history of social inequality and potential remedies; knowledge of community organizing and community building; an understanding of public policy and its impacts on low-income communities and communities of color; a grasp of major issues in environmental public health and public health disparities; an ability to link issues in the natural and built environments; knowledge of urban landscapes and their relationship to environmental and environmental health issues; a sociological lens on the larger environmental movement; and an understanding of the role of education in reducing environmental inequities." - Beth Herz, SNRE EJ Student currently working for the Surdna Foundation   

Favorite EJ job search websites What exactly is the study of Environmental Justice?
Employers of SNRE graduates and interns Why should employers hire EJ students?
Job titles and employment sector of SNRE alumni Examples of EJ coursework
Other employers of interest Conferences of interest
EJ-focused master's projects Professional organizations to join
Interested in EJ-focused internships? Need help finding a job?
eRecruiter EJ highlights Need help finding an internship?

The field of Environmental Justice is very interdisciplinary.  The resources listed below should be used in conjunction with other resources in the areas of civil rights, indigenous rights, urban planning, public policy, public health (especially information on disparities), environmental education, and other related fields.  Click here for a list of topics related to the study of Environmental Justice.   

Favorite EJ job search websites

Environmental Career Opportunities (Please go to eRecruiter to obtain the password for the job subscription) 
Environmental Jobs
eRecruiter
govtjobs.com
Green Careers Journal (Please go to eRecruiter to obtain the password for the job subscription)
idealist.org
SNRE Job Posting Websites
State of Michigan Vacancy Posting Page
USA JOBS

Employers of SNRE graduates and SNRE interns*

Check out the SNRE Group on LinkedIn to network with SNRE students & alumni who have professional experience in the field. 

Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)
Argonne National Laboratory
Association of Schools of Public Health
Central European University
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Colby College
Dartmouth College
Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice
Environmental Justice and Health Union
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Environmental Resources Management
Food System Economic Partnership (FSEP)
Fritz Institute
Growing Hope
IPM Institute of North America
Lafayette College
Michigan Department of Community Health
Mott Foundation
Nalu Energy
National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
National Wildlife Federation (NWF)
Oberlin College
OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon
Pomona College
Public Art Workz
Sierra Club
State of Washington, Department of Ecology
Surdna Foundation
Ten Thousand Villages
Tetra Tech
Track of the Tiger
Transformative Action Institute
University of Michigan
University of Michigan Botanical Gardens
University of Montana
University of South Florida 
US Department of the Interior, National Park Service
Washtenaw County Economic & Energy Development Department 
We ACT for Environmental Justice
Wilderness Society

Job titles and employment sector of SNRE alumni*

Please note that some positions may require a PhD.

Private (Consulting and Industry)

President
Program Manager
Project Scientist

Academic

Assistant Professor
Associate Professor
EPA Environmental Health Fellow
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Human Rights
Post-doctoral Fellow
Post-doctoral Research Fellow
Visiting Assistant Professor

Government

Community Involvement Coordinator 
Environmental Justice Coordinator
Epidemiologist
Landscape Specialist

Non-Profit/NGO/Multilateral Organization

Associate Program Officer
Executive Director
Project Coordinator
Senior Associate

Click here for some sample EJ Career Opportunities

Other employers of interest

These are just a handful that have been suggested by faculty, students, or are registered employers on eRecruiter...many more are out there! Check out eRecruiter for a complete listing of EJ employers that are registered with SNRE.  Also check out the MELDI website for profiles of minority professionals (view which employers for which they work).  

1Sky
ACDI/VOCA
American Red Cross
Apollo Alliance
Asian Development Bank
Bank Information Center
Citizens Energy Corporation
Clinton Global Initiative
Coalition for a Livable Future
Commission for Environmental Cooperation
Deep South Center for Environmental Justice
Earthwatch Institute
Ecology Project International
Ecotrust
Environmental Defense Fund
Environmental Justice Resource Center
Environmental Law & Policy Center
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW)
Environmental Management and Planning Solutions, Inc. (EMPSi)
Friends of the Detroit River
Global Green USA
Global Vision International
Green Corps
Green For All
Greenpeace
Institute for Sustainable Communities
International Resources Group
Literacy for Environmental Justice
Louisiana Bucket Brigade
Mangrove Action Project
Michigan Energy Options
Michigan Environmental Council (also check out MEC member organizations)
Mitchell Kapor Foundation
National Complete Streets Coalition
Oxfam
Parks & People Foundation
Pennsylvania Office of Environmental Advocate
Public Policy Institute of California
Regional Environmental Council of Central Massachusetts
Sierra Club
Sierra Institute
SOLV
Southern Environmental Law Center
Sustainable South Bronx
The Aspen Institute
The Barr Foundation
The California Endowment
The Earth Institute at Columbia University
The George Gund Foundation
The Greenlining Institute
The International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
The Majora Carter Group
The Russell Family Foundation
TransFair
United Church of Christ 
United Nations Environment Program
United Nations Foundation 
Urban Habitat
US Public Interest Research Group

EJ-focused master's projects

New Mobility: Providing Solutions to Social and Environmental Problems in Urban Slums of Developing Regions Master's Project: "As an Environmental Justice student, this master's project experience provided a fantastic opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary manner alongside students in the Sustainable Systems track.  Our team worked to understand the social and environmental problems faced by individuals living in urban slums and to explore viable solutions to those problems.  The in-depth collaboration was fulfilling; we provided our client with practical tools and actionable recommendations to help Ford Motor Company's Sustainable Business Strategies Division improve the social and environmental conditions experienced by many urban slum dwellers." -Jen McLaughlin, SNRE EJ Alum

EJ students and master's projects

Interested in EJ-focused internships?

Go to the SNRE Internship Website to view EJ student internship reports.

eRecruiter EJ highlights

  • Search for EJ related jobs/internships (employers can register for eRecruiter for free)
  • Find career events on campus
  • Search for Employers who hire EJ students
  • Apply for EJ jobs/internship on-line
  • View our Document Library, full of helpful career related resources

What exactly is the study of Environmental Justice?

Environmental justice as a social movement has grown rapidly since the early 1990s in response to concerns about disproportionate environmental burdens in poor, indigenous, and minority communities. The University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) played an early and important role in helping bring national attention to this emerging social and political problem.

In 1990, two SNRE faculty members, Bunyan Bryant and Paul Mohai, organized the nation's first academic environmental justice conference to examine the links between race, class, and environmental hazards. The conference, Race and the Incidence of Environmental Hazards: A Time for Discourse, was one of the initiatives instrumental in President Bill Clinton's signing of the Environmental Justice Executive Order 12898, which required all federal agencies to design and implement programs to address environmental justice issues.

Broadly construed, the Environmental Justice field of study is concerned with the processes through which inequalities arise from social, political, and environmental actions and policies. EJ students develop a historical understanding of the factors that launched the environmental justice movement in the United States and around the world and study the mechanisms that give rise to class, gender, and racial disparities. Students learn affected constituents -- communities, industry, government, environmental activists, policymakers, and scholars í¢â‚¬“ and learn the causes and consequences of inequitable distributions of environmental benefits and hazards, methods for researching environmental justice issues, and strategies for formulating policies in order to achieve a just and sustainable society. 

The State of Michigan through the Department of Environmental Quality, supports Environmental Justice though an Environmental Justice Working Group.  This group assists in developing an Environmental Justice Action Plan for the State of Michigan.

Why should employers hire EJ students?

EJ students are prepared to tackle global issues such as climate change, renewable resources, green jobs, environmental workforce dynamics, pollution mitigation, spatial analysis, community revitalization, open space, and conflict mediation. Our students and faculty are at the forefront of conducting research, proposing and enacting policy, building institutions, collaborating with communities in which environmental justice problems arise, and providing services to strengthen the field worldwide.

"Environmental Justice students learn to navigate an incredibly interdisciplinary field.  An Environmental Justice education prepares students to work in jobs that address the interconnectedness of income disparity and environmental health from both domestic and international perspectives." - Sidney Brown, SNRE EJ Alum

Graduates of this specialization find employment with government agencies, colleges and universities, consulting firms, research institutes, corporations, and a variety of domestic and international non-governmental organizations including community and environmental organizations. They also are employed as international environmental journalists.

Some students also have the opportunity to work with the Multicultural Environmental Leadership Development Initiative (MELDI) on the University of Michigan Campus in the Dana Building.

Examples of EJ coursework:

An interdisciplinary, problem-solving approach is crucial to the understanding of how environmental inequalities arise because environmental problems cross local, regional and national boundaries. The curriculum develops students' research, problem-solving, interpersonal, communication, and administrative skills within the context of understanding broad environmental dynamics.

The historical, scientific, social, legal, cultural and political complexities of the relationship between people and the built and natural environments are studied. Students will examine past research and design new methods for studying how race, class and gender affect our environmental experiences, attitudes, perceptions, and environmental discourse. Students also devise strategies to promote sustainable communities and participate in efforts to educate policymakers, educators, lawmakers, health professionals, industry leaders, and the public about environmental inequalities.

"EJ students in SNRE graduate with a unique combination of environmental science knowledge, a holistic understanding of the effect and importance of environmental justice for ensuring whole communities (for example, the intersection between green jobs, living wage, and reduction of violence), and applied experience in developing solutions to environmental challenges."  Mona Younis, SNRE EJ Alum

The University of Michigan is the only EJ program in the nation to offer a major concentration in environmental justice at the undergraduate, Master's, and Ph.D. levels

Examples of EJ courses

Ecological Design Approaches to Brownfield Redevelopment This course draws on practicing experts to introduce students to the wide-ranging issues that must be integrated for sustainable brownfield redevelopment; law and public policy, public health, public perception, environmental justice, environmental health, risk assessment, remediation, land planning, real estate finance and construction. Readings, lectures, a field trip, a charette, and a workshop critique of student work by visiting experts allows students to gain a breadth of knowledge of factors that interact to affect the success of brownfield redevelopment.

Environmental Justice: Research and Policy Developments This course examines current research on the topic of environmental justice, including the evidence concerning the occurrence of environmental injustices, explanation for this phenomenon, and how affected groups and government have responded. The course also explores solutions to the problem.

History of Environmental Thought and Activism This course uses a race, class and gender approach to examine the history of American environmental ideology and activism (1790s-present).

Click here for more information on EJ courses and requirements

Students can also reach out to other schools and departments on campus to find faculty members interested in Environmental Justice. Faculty members in the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies (CAAS) offer courses and conduct research in the field of Environmental Justice.  Many EJ students also take courses in anthropology, environmental education, law, public policy, public health, sociology, or urban planning.

Conferences of interest

Conferences are great avenues for resource sharing, presenting papers/poster, networking, and meeting possible future employers!

Clinton Global Initiative Annual Conference  
Coalition for a Livable Future, Regional Livability Summit
Commission for Environmental Cooperation (see Calendar of Events)
Conference Alert (listing of upcoming environmental conferences) 
Environmental Justice in America Conference
Food System Economic Partnership (FSEP) Conference (check with FSEP for future conference opportunities)
Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference (search the internet for workforce, labor development, or other green job conferences)
MELDI Conferences and other conferences of interest
National Training Conference on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and Environmental Conditions in Communities
The State of Environmental Justice in America Conference (read the blog: Environmental Justice Blog)
View the SNRE Conference Website
Many of the Professional Organizations listed below hold annual conferences, visit their websites for more information.  There are also many state and local chapters that hold conferences in which you may have interest.  The benefits are that the conferences are close to home and usually are less crowded than national conferences.

Professional organizations to join

Check out the MELDI website for a listing of more than 300 professional organizations to join.

Other selected professional organizations of interest: 

Air & Waste Management Association
International Association for Society and Natural Resources (2011 Symposium 6.4-8.2011)
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
National Association of Environmental Professionals
WE ACT for Environmental Justice (in 2009 WE ACT hosted the National Climate Justice Conference)

Need a help finding a job?

Email snre.careers@umich.edu to request an appointment with a SNRE Career Services staff member.  

Lisa Yee-Litzenberg: Coordinator of Student Career Services
Room 1520 Dana Building
(734) 615-1633, yeeha@umich.edu

Need help finding an internship?

Email snre.careers@umich.edu to request an appointment with a SNRE Career Services staff member.  

*Data taken from 2006-2011 surveys of SNRE students/alumni and from our eRecruiter system