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Environmental and Sustainability Justice

The negative impacts of global climate change and other environmental degradation and pollution are not equally distributed among countries, regions, and groups. Often, the most vulnerable members of society and those least likely to protect themselves are the ones experiencing the worst impacts.

The positive aspects of our natural environment (e.g. use of natural resources and access to restorative green spaces) are not evenly distributed. In addition, the focus on creating sustainability solutions that benefit the environment and the economy simultaneously often create new social injustices (e.g. energy prices that are not affordable to people with low incomes).

In a variety of ways, the Community, Environment, and Justice Research Group (CEJRG) team explores these important aspects of environmental and sustainability work. In this work, we are trying to use a community psychology lens to look at environmental and sustainability justice. Among others, we have explored how a deeper understanding of environmental justice can be used to motivate individuals to engage in action through invoking empathy.



  • Riemer, M. & Van Voorhees, C.W. (2014). Sustainability and social justice. In C. Johnson, H. Friedman, J. Diaz, B. Nastasi, & Z. Franco (Eds.) Praeger Handbook of Social Justice and Psychology. (pp 49-66). Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.
  • Van Voorhees, C.W. & Riemer, M. (2011). Environment and justice: A bittersweet move toward center stage. The Community Psychologist, 44(4), 12-13.
  • Klein, K. & Riemer, M. (2011). Experiences of environmental justice and injustice in communities of people experiencing homelessness. Ecopsychology, 3(3), 195-204.
  • Riemer, M. (2011). Psychological impact of living close to petro-chemical industry. Expert witness report delivered to counsel for the applicants in Ron Plain and Ada Lockridge v Director, Ministry of the Environment et al., Court File No. 528/10, Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Divisional Court).
  • Wandel, J., Riemer, M., de Gómez, W., Klein, K., de Schutter, J., Randall, L., Morrison, M., Poirier, S., & Singleton, C. (2010). Homelessness and Global Climate Change: Are we ready? A report from the study on the vulnerability to global climate change of people experiencing homelessness in Waterloo Region. Waterloo, ON.
  • De Schutter, J. & Riemer, M. (2009). Participatory decision-making models in the context of environmental justice: Are they working? Earth System Governance: People, Places and the Planet. Amsterdam, Dec 2-4.

Presentations and Talks

  • Riemer, M. (2013, November). Education for complexity: Transformational learning on environmental justice. Invited talk at the 2013 Greening Education conference in Karlsruhe, Germany.
  • Riemer, M. (2013, January). Psychology, sustainability and environmental justice. Invited presentation at the Applied Social Psychology Speaker Series, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON.
  • Hickman, G.M. & Riemer, M. (2012). The Psychological and Community Impacts of Living in Chemical Valley: Relevance and Implications for Community Psychology. Innovative Session conducted at the International Community Psychology Conference, Barcelona, Spain. June 21-23, 2012.
  • Riemer, M. & Voorhees, C. (2010). Community psychology, environment, and justice. Paper presented at the 3rd International Conference of Community Psychology, Puebla, Mexico, June 3-5, 2010.
  • De Schutter, J. & Riemer, M. (2009). Participatory decision-making models in the context of environmental justice: Are they working? Paper presented at the 2009 Amsterdam Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change “Earth System Governance: People, Places and the Planet,” Amsterdam, Dec 2-4.

Contact Us:

T: 519.884.0710 x2982
Office Location: Evolv1 Building 420 Wes Graham Way Suite #102 Waterloo, ON N2L 0J6

Office Hours:

We are currently working remotely.