Race and justice intersect in the environment. Whether it be pollution of water or the air, disasters due to climate change, or depletion of natural resources, there is a disproportionate impact on black, brown and indigenous people. And due to economic inequalities they are less likely to have the means to recover. The indigenous question, both domestic and international, highlights processes of imperialism as understood through the environmental harms and threats facing these communities. And the disparate costs of climate change inflicted on the Global South as compared with the Global North which has contributed most to warming of the planet raises questions of climate justice.
Gerald Torres speaks to issues of environmental justice. He is a leading figure in critical race theory, environmental law, and federal Indian Law. His 2002 book, The Miner's Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy with Harvard law professor Lani Guinier, was described by Publisher's Weekly as "one of the most provocative and challenging books on race produced in years."
Torres is currently Professor of Environmental Justice at the Yale School of the Environment and Professor of Law at the Yale Law School. He is a former president of the Association of American Law Schools. He has served as deputy assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and as counsel to then U.S. attorney general Janet Reno.