Environmental Justice and the Possibilities for Environmental Law

20 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2019 Last revised: 9 Jul 2019

See all articles by Sarah Krakoff

Sarah Krakoff

University of Colorado Law School

Date Written: 2019


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.

Keywords: environmental justice, climate change, poverty, race, indigenous peoples, American Indians, progress, pollution

JEL Classification: K10, K32

Suggested Citation

Krakoff, Sarah, Environmental Justice and the Possibilities for Environmental Law (2019). 49 Environmental Law 229 (2019), U of Colorado Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 19-19, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3407486

Sarah Krakoff (Contact Author)

University of Colorado Law School ( email )

401 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

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