Racial injustice and climate change are the two most urgent challenges facing democracies today. Environmental justice activists and scholars have made the public more aware of the disproportionate impact of pollution and climate change on communities of color. However, scholars, policymakers, and the public alike tend to treat social and environmental issues separately, hampering our ability to adequately address either. Repairing these social and environmental fractures requires collaborative solutions informed by historical, political, environmental, and local knowledge.

The Repair Lab, funded by UVA’s Democracy Initiative, brings together this expertise, and, in so doing, produce novel research, teaching, and public programming that deepens our understanding of the causes, consequences, and countermeasures of environmental and climate injustice locally and around the world. The Repair Lab creates scholarship that is innovative, actionable, and that serves democracy through its focus on racial justice and environmental sustainability.

The co-directors of the Repair Lab include:

  • Kimberly Fields (Assistant Professor, African American and African Studies)
  • Andrew Kahrl (Professor, History and African American and African Studies)
  • Sarah Milov (Associate Professor, History)
  • Sally Pusede (Assistant Professor, Environmental Sciences)

Coming at a moment when the public demands solutions to the racial and environmental crises afflicting the country and the world, we aim to position the Repair Lab—and the Democracy Initiative—at the center of policy debates over environmental and climate justice, generating and disseminating the ideas and perspectives that will shape future legislation (e.g., the Green New Deal), and ultimately, making UVA the leading global research institution in the interdisciplinary study of race, democracy, and the environment. ERI sponsored CoLab research contributed to successful funding of the Repair Lab. ERI regularly partners with the Repair Lab on a variety of ongoing environmental justice projects.