The Repair Lab

Racial injustice and climate change are the two most urgent challenges facing democracies today. Environmental justice activists and scholars have made the public more aware of the disproportionate impact of pollution and climate change on communities of color. However, scholars, policymakers, and the public alike tend to treat social and environmental issues separately, hampering our ability to adequately address either. Repairing these social and environmental fractures requires collaborative solutions informed by historical, political, environmental, and local knowledge. The Repair Lab will bring together this expertise, and, in so doing, produce novel research, teaching, and public programming that deepens our understanding of the causes, consequences, and countermeasures of environmental and climate injustice locally and around the world. Work in the Repair Lab will be guided by four main questions:

  • What are the historical relationships among race, politics, and the environment and what are their legacies today?
  • How does contemporary discrimination manifest in the environment and how can we advance environmental monitoring to better inform this research?
  • How do affected populations experience environmental injustice and how do we work together to produce more useful scholarship?
  • How and where can citizens most impactfully intervene in environmental policymaking?

In answering these questions, the Lab will draw upon the spectrum of required expertise, in and outside of academia, to produce policy-relevant research and programming that foregrounds the experience and material reality of environmental oppression, whether measured in degrees, inches of sea level rise, blood lead concentrations, or other metrics. In this way, the Repair Lab will create scholarship that is innovative, actionable, and that serves democracy through its focus on racial justice and environmental sustainability.