Linking environmental justice and intersectionality: A quantitative approach to analyzing the effects of within and between social group membership on landfills across the U.S.

Authors: Clare Cannon*, UC Davis
Topics: Gender, Environment, Quantitative Methods
Keywords: intersectionality, environmental justice, feminist theory, gender, inequality
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 9
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Landfills are linked to environmental harms, such as water contamination, production of greenhouse gases, and accumulation of toxins in human and natural systems. In the U.S., the presence of hazardous waste landfills has been shown to be co-located in poor communities and communities of color. Recently researchers have begun to incorporate intersectional approaches to studying environmental inequality outcomes. At the same time, intersectionality scholars have begun calling for researchers to use quantitative approaches to empirically test hypotheses derived from intersectionality theories. Building on such work, this study, links environmental justice and intersectionality theories to examine key relationships among all landfills, including the 93% of landfills that accept non-hazardous waste, and within and between social group membership. A unique secondary dataset of all landfills is analyzed using negative binomial regression to determine associations among race, socioeconomic status, gender inequality, and their intersections through two-way interaction terms, and non-hazardous and hazardous waste landfill counts. Findings suggest intersectional axes are robust predictors of environmental inequality. Moreover, there are unexpected relationships within social group membership, particularly with respect to gender inequality, and environmental inequality in the U.S. Quantitative approaches are important techniques for testing intersectionality theories. Further results and implications are discussed.

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