National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)
1 Park Place, Suite 300
Annapolis, MD 21401
Title: Past is Prologue?: Examining the long term history and legacies of environmental injustice in the City of Baltimore and its implications for a more sustainable and resilient city.
Legacies of past environmental injustices can leave an imprint on the present and constrain pathways for the future. Using nearly 20 years of social and environmental justice research from the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, a long term social ecological research project, we examine the relationships among past and current environmental injustices in Baltimore from the late 1880s to the present and consider its implications for future sustainability and resilience initiatives. Specifically, our research demonstrates that processes and procedures in the City’s early history of formal and informal segregation and subsequent practices of redlining in the 1930s have left indelible patterns of environmental and social inequalities. While these patterns are manifest in the distribution of environmental disamenities such as polluting industries, contaminated soils, urban heat islands, and vulnerability to flooding, these patterns are also evident in the distribution of environmental amenities such as trees and parks. In addition to understanding patterns of environmental dis/amenities, our work has examined how these patterns are historically constituted in order to address a fundamental question of the environmental justice literature: “which came first, the people or the hazards?” We are able to definitively show that, in the case of Baltimore, African-American neighborhoods were present first and prior social injustices were used as the rationale for perpetuating new patterns of environmental disamenities. More recently, our research shows that practices to redress some of these patterns of environmental injustices may have the opposite effect of perpetuating them.
Seminar presented by Morgan Grove, SESYNC Social Scientist in Residence and Research Forester at the US Forest Service.
SESYNC seminars are open to all interested attendees. Join us in Annapolis!
The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, funded through an award to the University of Maryland from the National Science Foundation, is a research center dedicated to accelerating data-driven scientific discovery at the interface of human and ecological systems. Visit us online at www.sesync.org and follow us on Twitter @SESYNC.