Document Type



Environmental Law




Climate change and extreme inequality combine to cause disproportionate harms to poor communities throughout the world. Further, unequal resource allocation is shot through with the structures of racism and other forms of discrimination. This Essay explores these phenomena in two different places in the United States, and traces law’s role in constructing environmental and economic vulnerability. The Essay then proposes that solutions, if there are any to be had, lie in expanding our notions of what kinds of laws are relevant to achieving environmental justice, and in seeing law as a possible tactic for instigating broader social change but not as a sole means of achieving it. To achieve environmental justice, it will take first more than environmental law, and then more than law.

Alternative title for this article: Environmental Injustice and the Limits of Possibilities for Environmental Law.