Copenhagen, Denmark

Environmental Justice

when 5 August 2020 - 18 August 2020
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 7.5 EC
fee DKK 6375

Across the Globe, people rise up and protest against social inequities and environmental threats. They protest when confronted with environmental ‘bads’ such as polluted or degraded local environments. They protest when barred from accessing environmental ‘goods’ such as clean water, land for agriculture or grazing, or urban green spaces for recreation. They protest against environmental injustices associated with infrastructure development, industrial complexes, agribusinesses, and large corporations, which are seen to derive profit from activities that threaten the environments that underpin the livelihoods of current and future generations. These social movements can be grassroots groups and/or groups organized as non-governmental organizations, and often organize under the banner of ‘environmental justice’.

Alongside the growth of environmental justice movements, the academic field of environmental justice has also rapidly expanded. It is a highly interdisciplinary field that draws on theories and concepts from across the natural and social sciences and humanities, such as environmental science, moral and political philosophy, science studies, development studies, and critical human geography. Environmental justice academics seek to analyze: (i) the nature of the distribution of environmental benefits and burdens; (ii) how environmental phenomena are experienced in different ways by different social groups; (iii) how justice claims are enacted/mobilized in struggles over resources, in particular the strategies of the social movements that call for justice.

This course offers students of environmental science, food science, natural resources governance, geography, global development or similar fields the opportunity to learn how to understand, analyze, and engage in environmental justice conflicts and debates. Through an intensive three-week course, students will practice unraveling claims of environmental (in-)justice from a social science perspective that also incorporates elements of environmental history and environmental science. Students will also engage with theories on how social movements strategize and communicate their claims, and will get a chance to formulate their own strategy and methods for communicating such claims. Finally, students will be exposed to the realities of environmental justice advocacy groups that struggle to affect current environmental injustices. By the end of the course, students have acquired the skills to formulate critical questions and clear methodologies around environmental justice that will enable them to engage in diverse environmental justice conflicts and debates across diverse topics, scales, and contexts.

Course leader

Jens Friis Lund

Target group


Course aim

Upon completing this course, the students should be able to:


1. Define environmental degradation and pollution
2. Describe the history of environmental justice
3. Describe theories on communicative action
4. Explain how environmental justice draws on elements of political and moral philosophy, post-colonial theory, feminist theory, and social movement theory


1. Apply principles from critical environmental science and history to examine claims of environmental degradation and pollution
2. Analyze claim making in environmental justice conflicts
3. Assess communicative actions used by social movements in environmental justice conflicts


1. Critically analyze actor positions and claims in environmental justice conflicts
2. Reflect communicative strategies used by social movements in the context of environmental justice conflicts
3. Collaboratively develop environmental justice campaigns and create communicative strategies for use in environmental justice

Fee info

DKK 6375: EU/EEA citizens
DKK 11400: Non-EU/EEA citizens