Environmental Justice History: Dr. Robert Bullard

Environmental Justice History: Dr. Robert Bullard

Climate justice is racial justice. As we unlearn & relearn about the environmental movement, we'll be sharing key figures here.


Dr. Robert Bullard is known as the Father of the Environmental Justice movement. In 1979, Bullard discovered that African American neighborhoods in Houston, Texas were frequently chosen for toxic waste sites. Even though they made up 25% of the population - their neighborhoods were home to more than 80% of the city's landfills. 

It all started with a lawsuit called “Bean v. Southwestern Waste Management, Inc”. Bullard’s wife, attorney Linda McKeever Bullard, was helping Margaret Bean stop a new landfill from going into her neighborhood. Having just received his PhD in Sociology, Dr. Bullard was called in as an expert witness. Bullard conducted a study analyzing the placement of waste sites against the demographics of neighborhoods. This study was the FIRST comprehensive account of environmental racism in the United States.

After that, he dedicated his life to fighting for environmental justice.

Bullard is an award-winning author of 18+ books. His book, Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality, is essential reading in the environmental justice field. 

Bullard has a prolific academic career (at Texas Southern University & Clark Atlanta University) & won a looooong list of awards recognizing his work.

Honestly, Dr. Bullard's accomplishments are far too great to summarize in this one tiny post. We encourage you to google, research, and read more about Dr. Bullard's work. 

Learn more about Dr. Robert Bullard:

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