Environmental Justice in Houston (2016-2)

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May 11, 2017
Kevin T. Smiley

This case focuses on the case of Greater Houston, Texas, one of the polluted metropolitan areas in the United States. Inequalities in human exposure to toxins are found in Houston, and across much of the U.S. The unit uses a directed case study that links together the scientific measurement of pollution, the differential ways in which humans are exposed to pollution, and an understanding of the socioenvironmental systems at work in the creation of pollution. Using an online web tool from the EPA called EJSCREEN, the primary assessment will be the construction of a side-by-side map that details the inequities in exposure to pollution in a location that each student will select. This unit is intended to support two fifty-minute course meetings (i.e. one week during a fifteen week semester).

Estimated time frame: 
A few class periods
SES learning goals: 
  • Understand the structure and behavior of socio-environmental systems
  • Consider the importance of scale and context in addressing socio-environmental problems
  • Co-develop research questions and conceptual models in inter- or trans-disciplinary teams
  • Find, analyze, and synthesize existing data, concepts, or methods
Has this been tested in the class room: 
Does this case have an answer key: 
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