This literature review and thesis examine two main issues, one on grassroots and community organizing and the other discussing the implications of environmental racism. The paper examines the nature of why low income and minority communities experience a disproportionate amount of environmental injustices, and what can be done at the grassroots level to combat this. Through a review of literature on both community/grassroots organizing and the prevalence of environmental racism within the United States, along with experiential findings through a community partnership, the issues of remedying environmental racism and the effectiveness of the remedies are explored. Environmental racism is a pervasive problem which is far from over, let alone even recognized as a legitimate social problem by many opponents within the United States. Many grassroots organizations have formed to address this problem. The case study for the effectiveness of grassroots organizations in combating environmental injustices is Clean Water Action Rhode Island, a nation-wide non profit working toward promoting healthier, more sustainable communities. Through their work within Providence, Rhode Island to specifically combat high levels of diesel pollution, it is concluded that they effectively employ organizing methods of well-know community organizing models. Furthermore, their effectiveness from the grassroots level is evident, (as opposed to a top-down bureaucratic approach,) and they have successfully gained a power base of membership and constituents within the state of Rhode Island to combat further cases of environmental racism and inequities.


Providence College











A project based on independent investigation, submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies.



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