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Research in Action

Community organizers and advocates worldwide are making efforts to provide low-income and people-of-color communities with the scientific research and technology they need to launch campaigns and protect their communities from environmental harm. The following is just a sampling of such endeavors that groups can learn from and incorporate into their work.


Academic Institutions, Communities and Agencies Network (ACA-Net)
ACA-Net joins together historically black colleges and universities with communities and government agencies in a collaborative effort to respond to environmental hazards in urban and rural communities. By building a network of people-of-color scientists and professional technicians committed to solving environmental injustices, ACA-Net provides communities with emergency, short-term, and long-term resources for achieving non-toxic living environments.
Mildred McClain, Executive Director, ACA-Net
1115 Habersham St, Savannah, GA, 21401
Tel: (912)233-0907 Fax: (912)233-5105

Environmental Justice & Health Union (EJHU)
The mission of the EJHU is to identify tools to help environmental justice activists and environmental health professionals work together to reduce environmental disease in poor minority communities. EJHU produces Catalyst, a monthly newsletter, distributed free to small community groups, with up-to-date information on environmental justice, environmental health and opportunities for partnerships. They also publish reports analyzing racial disparities in environmental health data collected by the federal government.
Max Weintraub, Director
Environmental Justice & Health Union
8 Captain Drive, #355
Emeryville, CA 94608

Southern California Environmental Justice Collaborative (SCEJC)
Initiated in 1998 by Communities for a Better Environment, SCEJC brings together academic and independent researchers to conduct community-based participatory research on air quality and environmental justice, and to provide scientific and environmental policy training to community organizations in Southern California. The Collaborative has conducted and published studies documenting racial disparities in exposures to environmental hazards. This research has supported successful community campaigns to create stronger air quality standards in Southern California and to promote environmental justice policies statewide.
Michele Prichard, Director of Special Projects
Liberty Hill Foundation
2121 Cloverfield, Suite 113
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 453-3611 ext. 104

Progressive Technology Project (PTP)
PTP seeks to help organizations in underserved communities realize their potential through information technology. Through events, online resources, and the Community Organizing Technology Grants program, PTP provides community groups with technological capacity building, information exchange forums and grant-making assistance.
Mark Sherman, Executive Director
2801 21st Ave S, Ste 132E
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Tel: (612) 724-2600

Environmental Public Health Tracking
Launched nationally by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Environmental Public Health Tracking is a program being implemented across the country at state and local levels. The fundamental objective is to coordinate and enhance existing information systems in order to reduce the crippling burden of disease. An Environmental Health Tracking System will document exposures to environmental pollutants; track disease trends over time and geography; enable researchers to better link exposures and disease; provide the scientific basis for evaluating and developing public health and environmental protection policies; and facilitate the publics’ right-to-know about environmental health issues. For more information:


groundWork partners with communities exposed to environmental hazards in Southern Africa to attain a better quality of life through civic participation. The organization achieved international recognition for their landmark “Bucket Brigades” collaboration with their American partner, Communities for a Better Environment, facilitated by the South African Exchange Program for Environmental Justice. This project allowed vulnerable South African communities to monitor their own air quality in an effort to secure legally-binding emissions standards.
Bobby Peek, Director, groundWork
Tel: +27 (0)33 342 5662 Fax: +27 (0)33 342 5665

Pollution Monitoring Laboratory, Center for Science & Environment (CSE)
CSE has worked for over 20 years to raise awareness about environmental hazards in India and to encourage communities as well as the government to take action to reduce public health risks posed by these hazards. Also known as the “People’s Lab,” the Pollution Monitoring Lab investigates food, water, soil, air, and biological materials for contamination. The lab publicizes its results widely to empower communities to fight the polluters who compromise their health.
Sunita Narain, Director Center for Science & Environment
41, Tughlakabad Institutional Area
New Delhi-110062, INDIA
Tel: +91 (011) 29955124 Fax: +91 (011) 29955879

Environment Support Group
Based in Bangalore, India, Environment Support Group (ESG) believes in promoting patterns of development that are socially just, economically viable, ecologically sustainable, politically participative and culturally vibrant. ESG provides trainings on environmental science, legislation and policies, perspectives of development, alternatives, and campaign strategies for a variety of focus groups at the village, district and regional levels. It is supported by an inhouse staff consisting of technically qualified researchers, and draws upon diverse expertise on a case-by-case basis.
Environment Support Group
36 Reservoir Road, Basavanagudi
Bangalore 560 004 INDIA
Telefax: 91-80-6657995/6722563 Fax: 91-80-2274699

Curitiba Research and Urban Planning Institute (IPPUC)
Curitiba, Brazil Curitiba, a city in the south of Brazil, is world renowned as a sustainable city. IPPUC supports continued sustainability efforts through research. Using maps and statistics, IPPUC gives the local administration a picture of urban reality and provides tools for diagnosing and solving problems affecting the community. Additionally, IPPUC supports citizen research; one example is their Geographic Information Systems (GIS) division. Created in 1989, the GIS division is in charge of systematizing GIS-based information about the city of Curitiba, with the purpose of analyzing urban interventions and providing support for Curitiba's development plans. For more information go to:
rua Bom Jesus, 669
Curitiba, PR, Brasil

Compiled by Jessica DiComillo of WEACT for Environmental Justice in Northern Manhattan.