Environmental Justice Tools of the 21st Century:
How can Michigan develop an Environmental Justice screening tool that is inclusive and representative of frontline EJ communities?
This case study is a summation of two years of research regarding cumulative impacts and environmental justice (EJ) in the State of Michigan. University of Michigan Master's students, Arianna Zrzavy, Molly Blondell (the co-authors of this case study), Wakako Kobayashi and Bryan Redden, researched on behalf of their client, the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition (MEJC) under the advisory of Dr. Paul Mohai.
Narratives and perspectives of stakeholders included in this case are based on group analysis from class speakers, informational interviews, and personal communications with state officials, community members and EJ advocates from Michigan, California, Washington, Minnesota, Maryland, and New Jersey.
Our main speaker, Serena, represents the work and testimonies of many community members that we have met during our time at SEAS. She does not represent the thoughts, actions or beliefs of a single individual.
Serena understands that measuring people's impacts can also inflict harm on their lived experiences. Yet, she knows that she needs a metric of cumulative impacts in order to better advocate for the communities she represents. With that in mind, how should she feel about an EJ screening tool? How can she learn from other states?