The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)
1 Park Place, Suite 300
Annapolis, MD 21401
This seminar will use a computational social science approach to explore environmental inequality, defined broadly as the inequitable distribution of environmental privileges and problems across social groups, throughout the continental United States. Referencing nearly 1 billion chemical releases originating from industrial facilities in 2007, the seminar will explore the surface of US industrial toxicity by:
- Identifying facilities that generate far more hazardous toxicity than might be expected.
- Linking these toxicity metrics to population information (e.g., race and class) at a similar scale.
After identifying over-polluters and impact hotspots by population types, the co-location of these two faces of inequality suggests that not only are environmental justice communities dealing with more than their fair share of contamination in general, but they are also likely to have the “worst of the worst" polluters in their neighborhoods. By linking these two faces of inequality, this work hopes to contribute to the ongoing conversation in environmental social science about the nature of environmental injustice while elucidating the social systems and correlates that governs the distribution of environmental resources.
Dr. Mary Collins is an environmental sociologist whose research focuses on the mechanisms by which sociopolitical power disparities influence the creation of ecological harm and environmental inequality, and their relationship to socio-ecological vulnerability. Mary comes to SESYNC from the University of California Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (co-funded by the National Science Foundation [NSF] and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]) and the NSF Center for Nanotechnology in Society at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she was a Postdoctoral Scholar. She received her PhD in Environmental Science and Management from the University of California, Santa Barbara in fall 2012. She also holds a MA in Applied Sociology from the University of Central Florida and a BS in Sociology and Research/Analysis from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.