Diversifying Environmental Advocacy in Atlanta Watersheds

Authors: Tamara Spikes, Georgia State University, Richard Milligan*, Georgia State University
Topics: Environment, Water Resources and Hydrology, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: Environmental Justice, Watersheds, Environmental Racism
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Executive Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Atlanta, Georgia has a long history of socio-ecological segregation and a growing number of leaders working to challenge multiple forms of environmental racism. For generations, Atlanta’s combined storm-water and sewage infrastructure has led to environmental degradations that disproportionately impact low-income, minority communities. This paper draws from qualitative research with five of Atlanta’s African American-led community-based environmental groups that each work on water governance issues in predominantly Black watersheds: the Atlanta Watershed Learning Network (AWLN), Environmental Community Action (Eco-Action), The Proctor Creek Stewardship Council (PCSC), the South River Watershed Alliance (SRWA), and the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA). Our study has sought to better understand how these groups confront environmental injustice and work towards diversifying mainstream environmentalism. This study contributes to debates in geography around the efficacy of environmental justice discourse and strategy with particular attention to the relationships between environmental racism and emerging discourses of resilience in urban environmental governance.

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