BIO 100 Students Report on Environmental Racism

Jose Peralta, Instructor in Biology 
Zahin Ahmed, Teaching Fellow in Biology

This term, in our Biology 100 course, we spent a few weeks discussing the topic of environmental justice with our students. In doing so, we discussed how the placement of industrial hazardous industries has historically targeted marginalized communities, putting them at greater risk of harm from environmental pollution. 

Adapted from “Reporting on Environmental Racism” by Learning for Justice curriculum (formerly Teaching Tolerance), the lesson on environmental racism and the environmental justice movement allowed us as a class to:

  • Explore the terms environmental racism and environmental justice. 
  • Examine and use print sources to collect information about environmental racism. 
  • Make inferences and draw conclusions about environmental racism
  • Use the news-gathering questions Who?, What?, Where?, When?, Why? and How? to record notes.  
  • Create a mock newscast to share their findings with others.  

For the newscast project, student groups were each assigned a case study from the University of Michigan investigating real world issues of environmental injustice across the country. Each group created a mock newscast that described the situation and offered their own analysis into how the principles of environmental injustice and racism can be seen.  

Below are a few examples of the projects which we wanted to share with the CAMD community so that you can get a glimpse into the work that our young people are doing on campus!  

“The Dearborn, Michigan Arab American Community and Industrial Air Pollution” 
Report by: Eleanor DeHoog ‘24, Andrew Chinn ‘24, and Larry Hotaling ‘24 
“Maquiladora Workers and Border Issues” 
Report by: Mateo Schneider ’24, Allie Encarnacion ’24, Sean Luo ’24  
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