The Introduction to Environmental Justice lessons create a foundation for students' understanding of environmental justice (EJ) history and concepts.

Elementary, middle, and high school students learn that harming the environment is an example of unkind behavior and that people of color are disproportionately impacted by environmental problems. Each lesson facilitates exploration of how kindness, compassion, and empathy can contribute to repairing damage caused by racist behaviors, policies, and systems. Students will 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.

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).

Environmmental Justice Hero Posters

Turn your classroom or home into a space that facilitates exploration of Environmental Justice Heroes’ action and work with this illustrated and inspirational 11 poster series.

These lessons are free for educational use in an effort to help foster a more just and sustainable society.

A collaboration between EcoRise and Groundwork USA helped make these lessons possible. Groundwork USA is a national enterprise with local roots that is working at the intersection of the environment, equity, and civic engagement. Visit GroundworkUSA.org to learn more about the powerful work this organization is doing.

We’d also like to acknowledge the educators who piloted these lessons and gave feedback to make the curriculum more meaningful and authentic.