Guest speaker Jill Lindsey Harrison: "Why do government agencies allow environmental inequalities to persist?"

January 19, 2022

Spring 2022 SFSS kicks off on January 27

The Sustainable Futures speaker series (SFSS) opens on Thursday, January 27 @ 5:30 pm with Jill Lindsey Harrison, author of From the Inside Out: The Fight for Environmental Justice within Government Agencies.

Harrison will present key findings from her book, which lifts the veil on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other environmental regulatory agencies to offer new insights into why they fail to reduce harmful toxics and other hazards in our nation’s most environmentally overburdened and vulnerable communities. Harrison’s research examines the disappointing pace of environmental regulatory agencies’ environmental justice (EJ) programs and policies as a case through which to understand why, despite reducing air and water pollution for the nation overall, government has not protected the communities who suffer the most.

Other scholars have shown that budget cuts, industry pressure, and other factors outside the control of agency staff constrain the possibilities for EJ reforms to regulatory practice. Via extensive staff interviews and team observations, Harrison’s study shows that agencies’ EJ efforts are also undermined by elements of regulatory workplace culture — including everyday ways in which well-meaning staff dedicated to environmental regulation reject EJ reforms as violating what they think their organization does and should do. These interviews also reveal how EJ staff at government agencies endeavor to change both regulatory practice and regulatory culture, from the inside out.

Jill Lindsey Harrison is an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research focuses on  environmental justice, environmental politics, and immigration politics, with a regional emphasis on the United States.  Her research covers political conflict over agricultural pesticide poisonings in California, escalations in immigration enforcement in rural Wisconsin, and government agencies’ environmental justice reform efforts, with the thread throughout being an aim to help identify and  explain the persistence of environmental inequalities and workplace inequalities in the United States today.


Upcoming this semester, we're excited to host Alison Bates of Colby College on March 3, to talk about the social dynamics of offshore wind, and Andrea Rogers of Our Children's Trust on April 28, to discuss children’s fundamental rights, the climate crisis, and calls for judicial action.

Find more info and register for all events at:

We’re holding the Spring 2022 Sustainable Futures speaker series online via webinar. Each lecture is streamed via Zoom, and will be followed by a Q&A discussion period. All events are free and open to the public, and live captioning is provided for all talks. To request additional support, please contact or call 707-826-4345.

The SFSS was created to stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration around issues related to energy, the environment, and society. Lectures are sponsored by the Schatz Energy Research Center, the Environment & Community program, and the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences.

Announcement Approvals: