Resources

I: TELI 2012 Research Guide

The TELI 2012 research guide provides several links to books, news/newspapers, articles and web resources to enhance your knowledge and ability to research environmental literacy. Included are links to digital images/media on urban agriculture and brownfield development prepared by Bryan Revis from the Digitial Design Studio. The guide was prepared by Regina Fisher Raboin, Environmental Science Research & Instruction Librarian at Tisch Library. If you have any questions, please contact her directly at Regina.Raboin(at)tufts.edu.

II: “Teaching at Tufts” Resources 

“Teaching at Tufts” is designed to provide teaching and learning resources for faculty at different stages of their careers and across diverse disciplines and fields at Tufts. For information on incorporating educational technologies, please visit: http://sites.tufts.edu/teachtufts/educational-technologies/

III: Recommended Readings  

Urban Agriculture

1. Kortright, R. and Wakefield, S. “Agriculture and Human Values” Volume 28, Number 1 (2011), 39-53

Food security is a fundamental element of community health. Informal house-lot food growing, by providing convenient access to diverse varieties of affordable and nutritious produce, can provide an important support for community food security. In this exploratory assessment of the contribution home food gardening makes to community food security, in-depth interviews were conducted with gardeners in two contrasting neighborhoods in Toronto, Canada. A typology of food gardeners was developed, and this qualitative understanding of residential food production was then assessed from a community food security perspective. It was found that growing food contributes to food security at all income levels by encouraging a more nutritious diet. The sustainability of household food sourcing and gardeners’ overall health and well-being also increased with food production. Secure access to suitable land to grow food and gardening skills were the most significant barriers found to residential food production.

2. Blaine, et al. “Profiling Community Gardeners.  Journal of Extension” Volume 48 Number 6, December 2010.

Across the United States, urban environments have changed dramatically in recent decades. Most of these changes have been driven by de-industrialization and by the flight of the middle class to the suburbs. As a result, many of the buildings that dominated American cityscapes in the middle of the 20th century have been abandoned or demolished. Although newer structures have emerged in urban areas, portions of many cities continue to decay. People involved in urban planning have developed a number of creative tools for improving these environments. One such tool is the community garden (Lawson, 2004). For example, in some areas where the quality of housing stock has deteriorated, cities have seized land on which taxes were delinquent and demolished the homes. In some cases, city or county governments sell these lots to developers. Often, however, when the demand for development on these parcels is low, local governments have chosen to operate community gardens.

3. Ferris, J ., & Sempik, J.  “People, Land, and Sustainability: Community Gardens and the Social Dimension of Sustainable Development” Social Policy and Administration 35(5), 559-568.

Community gardens vary enormously in what they offer, according to local needs and circumstance. This article reports on research and experience from the USA. The context in which these findings are discussed is the implementation of Local Agenda and sustainable development policies. In particular, emphasis is given to exploring the social dimension of sustainable development policies by linking issues of health, education, community development and food security with the use of green space in towns and cities. The article concludes that the use of urban open spaces for parks and gardens is closely associated with environmental justice and equity.

4. Nik Heynen, Hilda E. Kurtz, and Amy Trauger. Food Justice, Hunger and the City. Geography Compass. Volume 6, Issue 5, pages 304–311, May 2012.

We are amidst a long-overdue increase of interest in issues related food, cities and inequality within geography. While there has certainly been significant scholarship done on the issue, this area seems to be on the verge of defining many other sub-disciplinary trajectories as opposed to the opposite which has historically been the case. In this short review essay, we hope to signal the utility of the concepts of community food security, food sovereignty and urban agriculture for conceptually linking food, justice, and cities.

Readings recommended by Tim Griffins (speaker) 

1. Zezza, A. and Tasciotti, L. Urban Agriculture, Poverty and Food Security: Empirical Evidence from a Sample of Developing Countries, Food Policy 35 (2010) 265–273.

2. Jarosz, L. The city in the country: Growing alternative food networks in Metropolitan areas Journal of Rural Studies 24 (2008) 231–244.

3. FAO Report Food Agriculture and Cities

4. Getachew, Abate. Local Food Economies: Driving Forces, Challenges, and Future Prospects

5. NY TIMES Agriculture Resource page

Environmental & Social Justice

1. Dekay, Mark. Gray City Green City. Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy. 16.2 (Summer 2001): p19.

New thinking and new settlement patterns can bring about urban sustainability. The American city, if one can still call such a sprawling, gray metropolis a city, is an ecological disaster. The way cities use land and resources profoundly alters the quality of the local and global environment. Uncontrolled growth devours land, water, and energy from the surrounding landscape. Contemporary settlement patterns create auto dependence, high energy demands for buildings, water pollution from excessive toxic runoff, air pollution, and such other adverse environmental effects as increased health risks caused by coal mining, nuclear waste, and fuel burning

2. Stephens, Carolyn. Environment & Urbanization; Revisiting urban health and social inequalities: the devil is in the detail and the solution is in all of us.04/01/2011, Vol. 23 Issue 1, p29-40, 12p.

This paper considers how the subject of urban inequalities has come to be given more consideration within the discussions of urban poverty and urban health. It suggests a need for more precision in understanding and acting on such inequalities — and discusses how measurement and policy response are influenced by whether the focus is on urban poverty, differentials, inequality or inequity. Many authors fail to clarify the difference between a differential, an unequal and an unjust distribution of services or resources, or health outcomes. This paper discusses what aspects of inequality can and cannot be addressed through conventional local government interventions (for instance, in upgrading informal settlements or public transport, or water pricing). It argues that to change urban inequalities at root, we have to recognize and address unjust distributions of power and control of resources.

3. Gottlieb, Robert and Fisher, Andrew. “FIRST FEED THE FACE”: ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AND COMMUNITY FOOD SECURITY. Antipode. Volume 28, Issue 2, pages 193–203, April 1996.

Environmental justice and community food security represent parallel though largely separate movements whose linkage would help establish a new community development, environmental, and empowerment-based discourse. Environmental justice has been limited by its risk discrimination focus, even as environmental justice organizations have shifted to a broader social justice orientation, eclipsing their earlier environmental focus. Community food security advocacy, while offering a concrete example of linked agendas and constituencies, has yet to effectively outreach to environmental justice groups. Coalition building efforts, such as the Community Food Security Empowerment Act, presents that opportunity.

Communicating Environmental Issues

1. Agyeman, Julian. Toward a ‘just’ sustainability. Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies

Why should race and class, justice and equity play a role in sustainability? Has the current environmentally focused sustainability movement not done a good job? Irrespective of whether we take a global, national or more local focus, a moral or practical approach, inequity and injustice resulting from, among other things, racism and classism are bad for the environment and bad for a broadly conceived notion of sustainability. What is more, as most of the environmental justice literature (see, for instance, Agyeman, Bullard, and Evans 2003) and Shellenberger and Nordhaus (2004) have shown in the United States, the environmental sustainability movement does not have an analysis or theory of change with strategies for dealing with these issues. Indeed, Shellenberger and Nordhaus (2004, 12) in The Death of Environmentalism, their stinging indictment of the US environmental movement, ask: Why, for instance, is a human-made phenomenon like global warming – which may kill hundreds of millions of human beings over the next century – considered ‘environmental’? Why are poverty and war not considered environmental problems while global warming is? And many don’t see inequity and injustice, racism and classism as their responsibility. While researching a film in the early 1990s on the (lack of) inclusivity of the environmental movement in the United Kingdom, I asked a Greenpeace staffer if she felt that her organization’s employees reflected multicultural Britain. She replied calmly, ‘No, but it’s not an issue for us. We’re here to save the world.’ There is a common belief among those in the environmental sustainability movement that as they are ‘saving the world’, they are saving it for everyone equally, which somehow absolves them from wider discussions of equity and justice. As I have argued elsewhere: sustainability . . . cannot be simply a ‘green’, or ‘environmental’ concern, important though ‘environmental’ aspects of sustainability are. A truly sustainable society is one where wider questions of social needs and welfare, and economic opportunity are integrally related to environmental limits imposed by supporting ecosystems. (Agyeman, Bullard, and Evans 2002, 78)

2. Hansen, Anders.  Communication, media and environment: Towards reconnecting research on the production, content and social implications of environmental communication. The International Communication Gazette.  73.1-2 (Feb. 2011): p7-25

Surveying environmental communication research of the past four decades, the article delineates some of the key trends and approaches in research which has sought to address the role played by media and communication processes in the public and political definition, elaboration and contestation of environmental issues and problems. It is argued: (1) that there is a need to reconnect the traditional, but traditionally also relative distinct, three major foci of communication research on media and environmental issues: the production/construction of media messages and public communications; the content/messages of media communication; and the impact of media and public communication on public/political understanding and action with regard to the environment; and (2) that there is a need for media and communications research on environmental issues/controversy to reconnect with traditional sociological concerns about power and inequality in the public sphere, particularly in terms of showing how economic, political and cultural power significantly affects the ability to participate in and influence the nature of public ‘mediated’ communication about the environment.

3. Cermak, Michael J. Hip-Hop, Social Justice, and Environmental Education: Toward a Critical Ecological Literacy. Journal of Environmental Education. Volume 43, Issue 3, 2012 

This essay describes an educational initiative that used environmentally themed (green) hip-hop to stimulate learning in an environmental science classroom. Students were then challenged to compose their own green hip-hop and their lyrics demonstrated skills that have thematic consistency around what is called a Critical Ecological Literacy (CEL). An analysis of more than 200 creative pieces collected from eight runs of this curriculum over four years shows that CEL can be used as a guiding concept for the creation of curriculum targeting urban areas and racially diverse learners. Several examples of this student-produced green hip-hop are shared to delineate elements of CEL that can help educators evaluate student learning as well as their own teaching materials.

This essay describes an educational initiative that used environmentally themed (green) hip-hop to stimulate learning in an environmental science classroom. Students were then challenged to compose their own green hip-hop and their lyrics demonstrated skills that have thematic consistency around what is called a Critical Ecological Literacy (CEL). An analysis of more than 200 creative pieces collected from eight runs of this curriculum over four years shows that CEL can be used as a guiding concept for the creation of curriculum targeting urban areas and racially diverse learners. Several examples of this student-produced green hip-hop are shared to delineate elements of CEL that can help educators evaluate student learning as well as their own teaching materials.

Brownfield Redevelopment  

Lee, S., Mohai, P.
Environmental Justice Implications of Brownfield Redevelopment in the United States
(2012) Society and Natural Resources, 25 (6), pp. 602-609.

This article discusses environmental justice implications of brownfield development. Although many argue that brownfield development can be an excellent alternative to the Superfund Act for a new toxic waste policy in the United States, providing environmental as well as economic improvements, such views are based on anticipated rather than proven or actual benefits. Questions pertaining to the environmental justice consequences of brownfield development discussed in this article include who lives near brownfield sites and which sites are cleaned up first, whether lowering cleanup standards for brownfield development is safe for human health, whether brownfield development can provide economic benefits without any adverse consequences of development to local residents, and how public participation should be included in the process of brownfield development.