A book about environmental justice leadership in america

About the book

Our book offers a guided, story-rich roadmap for what a holistic approach to environmental justice looks like. In this book, we highlight the key ingredients necessary for leading impactful and empowering environmental justice movements.

We do this by storytelling environmentally-just and socially-just approaches in American urban and rural and Tribal communities. The book first highlights the untold stories of how people of color stewarded the land and shaped the environmental movement, stories that aren’t yet seen as canonical by mainstream environmentalism. This framing centers leaders of color, whose work was essential to the historical genesis of the environmental movement.

After this reframe of the canon of environmental justice leadership, our book explores opportunities for the environmental justice movement to build capacity, curiosity, connection, collaboration, and co-creation, and it examines critical areas of compensation, care, course correction, and courage for a continuum of change.

In writing this book, we look at the breadth and depth of successful and scalable environmental justice efforts and organizing across the United States, from the deep south to the far north, from the east coast to the west coast, and from the rural and urban to Tribal lands. We feature interviews with environmental justice leaders on the front lines of this work, diving deep into their organizing ethos, how they’re getting the work done, the obstacles and opportunities facing them, and what’s needed to scale out and sustain their work.

Lastly, we highlight emerging strategies in the environmental justice movement that can be adapted and scaled out elsewhere, illustrating how the climate movement can provide for a more equitable and just environment for all. In sum, our book’s roadmap for implementation aims to encourage and support more holistic, restorative, and reparative environmental justice work across diverse contexts, communities, and even continents – all while featuring stories of positive approach and leadership from which new leaders can find inspiration.


About the authors

Kesha Ram Hinsdale is a Vermont State Senator, the author of Vermont’s first environmental justice legislation, and adjunct faculty at Vermont Law and Graduate School where she teaches courses in environmental justice. Dr. Michael Shank is director of engagement at the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, an affiliate of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, and teaches sustainability courses at New York University and conflict courses at George Mason University’s Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolutions. Kesha and Michael’s book on environmental justice leadership will be published by Island Press.