Environmental Justice and Emerging Technologies


This project evaluates emerging technologies–particularly biotechnology/genomics, nanotechnology, and information technology, but also neurotechnology, robotics, and artificial intelligence–from the perspectives of environmental justice, and explores their implications for environmental justice communities and movements. Emerging technologies often have the potential to contribute to addressing environmental injustice and benefit environmental justice communities through, for example, pollution prevention, environmental remediation, environmental monitoring, public health monitoring, work place health and safety, medical diagnosis and treatment, information accessibility, democratic practice/participation, and organization and communication capacity. However, emerging technologies also can be detrimental to environmental justice communities through, for example, pollution, safety hazards, unequal access, marginalization from decision-making, exploitation, and opportunity costs, thereby contributing substantially to environmental injustice along all of its dimensions (distributive, procedural, participatory, recognition, and capabilities). The goals of this project are to: (1) raise the salience of the environmental justice dimensions of emerging technologies; (2) identify opportunities for emerging technologies to contribute to addressing environmental injustice; (3) make recommendations–social, policy, and regulatory–to promote emerging technologies in ways that address rather than exacerbate environmental injustice; and (4) provide a resource on emerging technologies for environmental justice communities.