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Environmental Justice and Mission Statement

Collaboration and community building around environmental justice

Northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), the official bird of the state of VirginiaThe quote by Wolch, Byrne, and Newell (2014) that introduces this archive emphasizes the relationship between environmental (in)justice and environmental “good and harm.” In other words, EJ refers to the acknowledgment and counteraction of the role of social, (geo)political, historical, economic, and colonial inequities in the relationship between diverse human groups and the environment. EJ addresses global and local issues concerning power relations between diverse actors, from individuals to industries, corporations, nation-states, and diverse human communities. With a special focus on marginalized human groups, communities, and societies, EJ considers various axes of difference and intersectionality, such as race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, class, disability, age, etc. Thus, EJ encompasses social movements, policymaking, stewardship, economic activities, cultural imagination, creative expression, and other forms of human action. The concept of EJ overlaps and intertwines with others such as social justice, climate justice, biodiversity justice, decolonization, human and nonhuman rights, and various forms of activism.

The mission of EJAV is to promote research, action, collaboration, and change around issues of EJ in Virginia and beyond. The work of everyone involved in the creation of EJAV stems from the need to highlight EJ efforts and provide open access to knowledge of EJ so that these initiatives continue to grow. We firmly believe in the value of knowledge promotion through online and accessible platforms and strive to make EJAV a valuable resource to every community in Virginia and elsewhere. We also seek to establish high standards for quality and decolonization, so that EJAV can reflect the values of equity, inclusion, accessibility, human rights, anti-coloniality, and diversity that the concept of EJ itself entails.

Vision and Context

EJAV aligns with the core values of William & Mary. The materials contained in this archive promote a sense of belonging both to a community of research in our institution and to the broader context of environmental struggles in the state of Virginia. The research promoted through EJAV highlights the academic environment of curiosity and excellence that characterizes the work of our community. Furthermore, we believe the work contained and disseminated through EJAV can contribute to actual applications and the advancement of EJ in and beyond Virginia. EJAV exemplifies commitment and service to EJ and represents our community’s will to flourish through integrity and respect toward the environment and its multiple human and nonhuman residents and stewards. Additionally, EJAV is coming to fruition under William & Mary’s Vision 2026, thus promoting our institution’s goals of expanding W&M’s reach and educating for impact by making EJ research and materials openly available so that our communities can benefit from the knowledge production taking place at W&M and the possibilities opened by understanding and engaging EJ from multiple perspectives.

EJAV features the work of W&M students and faculty but is openly available to the public. When creating an EJ archive of Virginia, our goal is not to create an archive that focuses only on the lands occupied by the state of Virginia. On the contrary, the preposition on the archive’s name is interchangeable; EJAV is an Environmental Justice Archive of, in, for, and about Virginia. This means that EJAV is created with a local, regional, and global scope. We firmly believe that EJ cannot be understood through context restrains but requires a profound understanding of contextual differences and specificities. As such, we include the work of scholars working in Virginia on topics of EJ in diverse geopolitical contexts but also the work of scholars everywhere working on topics of EJ that relate, point back to, or echo the Virginia context.