Science For Justice


Beginning a Courageous Journey: Connecting Science & Justice

Dr. Brian R. Shmaefsky, , UCS

One year after the Flint Water Crisis I was invited to participate in a water rights session at a conference hosted by the US Human Rights Network in Austin, Texas in 2015. The reason I was at the conference was to promote efforts by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to encourage scientists to shine a light on how science intersects with human rights, in the United States as well as in the context of international development. My plan was to sit at an information booth and share my stories about water quality projects I spearheaded in communities in Bangladesh, Colombia, and the Philippines. I did not expect to be thrown into conversations that made me reexamine how scientists use their knowledge as a public good. Read more >

Angie Chung/Flickr
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East Boston murals celebrating the community’s immigrant identity.

East Boston and Power: An Environmental Justice Community in Transition

John Walkey, Waterfront Initiative Coordinator, , UCS

En español

This is the first in a four-part blog series on East Boston, a Controversial Substation, and Opportunities for a Clean Energy Transition.  

Welcome to Eastie

Of all the neighborhoods of Boston, East Boston quite literally stands apart: physically separated from the rest of the city by Boston Harbor. Originally a collection of small islands, it was eventually merged into one land mass, and its northern shore was connected to the mainland through a land filling and development process in the late nineteenth century. The character of East Boston has been defined by its waterfront in two main ways: the industries that have thrived along its wharves, and the immigrants who passed from those docks to live in the neighborhood’s tightly packed blocks of triple-decker homes. Now in the 21st century, change is rippling across this waterfront community.

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Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, Boston Public Library.
John Walkey
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East Boston y energía: Una comunidad de justicia ambiental en transición

John Walkey, , UCS

En inglés

Este es el primero de una serie de cuatro blogs sobre East Boston, una Controvertida Subestación Eléctrica y las Oportunidades para una Transición a Energía Limpia

Bienvenidas/os a Eastie

De todos los vecindarios de Boston, East Boston literalmente tiene una diferencia única: está físicamente separado del resto de la ciudad por el puerto de Boston. Aunque originalmente era un grupo de pequeñas islas, eventualmente se fusionó en un solo terreno al conectar su costa norte a tierra firme a través de rellenos de tierra y un proceso de desarrollo a finales del siglo diecinueve. El carácter de East Boston ha sido definido por su zona costera en dos formas principales: las industrias que han prosperado a lo largo de sus embarcaderos, y los inmigrantes que pasaron de los muelles a vivir en las apretujadas cuadras de edificios de tres pisos (o triple-deckers) del vecindario. Ahora en el siglo veintiuno, el cambio está repercutiendo a lo largo de esta comunidad costera.

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John Walkey
Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, Boston Public Library.
John Walkey
John Walkey
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Indigenous People of Louisiana and the Oil Industry: An Ishak Reflection

Jeffery U. Darensbourg, freelance writer, speaker, and editor, , UCS

While doing field research in 2018 for a book, I took a boat to a shell midden in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, near where the Vermilion River – long home to my ancestors of various sorts – meets up with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway before spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. My people, the Ishak, also known as the Atakapa (or even the Atakapa-Ishak) once inhabited the nearby Onion Bayou. Our ancient midden is bisected by a ship channel known as Four Mile Cutoff.

Standing there, I watched ships ferrying workers and equipment for oil exploration, going straight through the middle of this remnant of our cultural legacy. In our tribal creation myth, the first Ishak walked out of that very gulf onto our lands. Now something else coming from there is a dominant cultural, environmental, and economic force.

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In May 2017, Ben marches with fellow Graduate Students at the University of Chicago for union recognition. Photo: Claudio Gonzáles

Our Next Generation of Scientists, Exploited

Dr. Ben Zalisko, , UCS

Our federal labor laws have a loophole: If you can get away with characterizing your employees as “students”, you don’t have to respect their right to unionize. Research institutions have been doing this to prevent graduate student workers, who are paid to teach and perform research for their institution, from forming an effective labor union. It’s a neat trick; could a “Walmart University” be on the horizon? Read more >

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