Introduction to Environmental Justice


These foundational lessons for elementary, middle, and high school students’ explore environmental justice (EJ) history and concepts. By learning from leaders and events that helped form the EJ movement, students discover how they can help dismantle and counteract damage caused by systemic racism. Written in partnership with Groundwork USA.


SKU: 2000 Category:


young black person smiling and enjoying nature

Understanding EJ history and concepts

Each lesson facilitates elementary, middle, and high school students’ exploration of how kindness, compassion, and empathy can contribute to repairing damage caused by racist behaviors, policies, and systems.

Through engaging lessons and activities, students learn that harming the environment is an example of unkind behavior and that people of color are disproportionately impacted by environmental problems. Students take a close look at leaders and events that helped form the EJ movement and discuss how they can help dismantle/counteract damage caused by systemic racism. They explore examples of EJ Heroes—activists who have addressed environmental justice problems in their communities—and begin exploring strategies they can implement to become EJ heroes, too.

a male-presenting person outside on a steep hill silhouetted by a brilliant sun rise.

This program includes:

  • Robust and engaging multi-session lessons for elementary, middle, and high schoolers that encourage awareness, personal development, role-playing, and critical thinking with a range of teaching strategies, including presentations, videos, activities, assessments, cross-disciplinary strategies, technology integration, and community extensions.
  • Student worksheets that engage students in real-world learning exercises.
  • Illustrated posters that highlight Environmental Justice Heroes that students learn from and celebrate, and 12 Just/Unjust scenario cards for students to critically think about and discuss.
  • Standards alignment with the Cloud Education for Sustainability (EFS) Standards & Performance Indicators, Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).