IBS Newsletter

May 2000

Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado

Program Activities

Environment and Behavior Program

David N. Pellow presented his paper (co-authored by David Getches) on "Beyond (Traditional) Environmental Justice: How Large a Tent?" at the conference on Environmental Equity in a Natural Resources Context in April. The conference was sponsored by the CU Law School, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Colorado Peoples Environmental and Economic Network, and funded by the Ford Foundation. The event was hosted by the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver.

In Print

White, Gilbert F. 2000. "Appraising the Results of Our Work," Water Resource Update, 116, pp. 79-80. One of the brief pieces in the number edited by Charles Howe on "Reflections on a Century of Water Science and Policy." This one discusses 1) the problems and progress in reconciling social aims of water management with maintaining environmental policy, and 2) the difficulties and progress in carrying out careful appraisal of the effects of water projects upon human societies and natural ecosystems. On the latter problem, this summer, James Wescoat and Sarah Halvorson will be publishing a report for the World Commission on Dams.

Pellow, David N., Adam Weinberg, and Allan Schnaiberg. 2000. Urban Recycling and the Search for Sustainable Community Development. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. The book is a study of the creation and destruction of non-profit recycling in the City of Chicago. The authors engage theories of sustainable development and ecological modernization to produce a political economic model of recycling.

Pellow, David N., Adam Weinberg, and Allan Schnaiberg. "Ecological Modernization in the Internal Periphery of the USA: Accounting for Recycling's Promises and Performance." Environmental Politics, Vol. 9 (reprinted in Arthur Mol and David Sonnenfeld (Eds.), Ecological Modernization Around the World: Perspectives and Critical Debates: UK: Frank Cass & Co., Ltd. This article is a critique of ecological modernization theories using recycling as a test case. The authors argue that the "treadmill of production" model has better explanatory power for revealing whether or not firms actually integrate ecological criteria into routine decision-making.

Pellow, David N. 2000. "Environmental Inequality Formation: Toward a Theory of Environmental Injustice." American Behavioral Scientist, 43, pp.581-601. This article seeks to critique the literature on environmental racism and proposes a theoretical model for guiding future research in this area.

Pellow, David N. 2000. "African American Labor at the Margins: Exploring the Emergence of Environmental Health Hazards in the Workplace." In Randy Hodson (Ed.), Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol 8. Stamford, CT: JAI Press. In this paper Pellow links the sociology of work and the sociology of the environment to analyze the peripheral status of African American workers in low wage, high-risk occupations.

Natural Hazards Center

IBS's Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center publishes several periodicals for scholars and students of disaster as well as for individuals involved in program planning and administration to reduce hazards impacts. These publications include the Natural Hazards Observer newsletter, and, in conjunction with the American Society of Civil Engineers, the new Natural Hazards Review journal. For information about these useful resources, see http://www.colorado.edu/hazards. In addition, the center publishes a free e-mail newsletter, Disaster Research (DR). DR is an edited bulletin that comes out about every two weeks and is sent to about 2,400 recipients around the world. It includes some items that will appear subsequently in the Observer, as well as other timely articles about new developments, institutions, policies, and information resources in the field of hazards management. Moreover, it contains questions and messages from the DR's network of many subscribers-items to which any recipient can reply.

An on-line subscription form for Disaster Research is available at http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/sub.html or interested persons can simply e-mail a request to hazctr@colorado.edu. In addition, back issues of DR are available for perusal on-line at http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/dr/dr.html. The Hazards Center considers DR a significant resource for the hazards research and applications community and invites any interested students, researchers, or practitioners to sign up.

In Print

David A. Etkin and Mary Fran Myers. 1999. "Thunderstorms in a Social Context," in Roger Pielke, Jr., and Roger Pielke, Sr. (Eds.) Storms, Volume II, London: Routledge, pp. 43-59. This chapter, in Routledge's definitive series on natural hazards, describes how thunderstorms affect society and how, in turn, they are perceived and coped with. Discussion includes how thunderstorms fit into the global climate system; myths, superstitions, and fallacies about thunderstorms; perceptions of thunderstorm-related hazards; costs and benefits of thunderstorms to society; various adaptation and mitigation measures; and issues that need to be addressed in future mitigation of the thunderstorm hazard.

Problem Behavior Program

Richard Jessor presented the keynote address at the Fourth Annual Undergraduate Psychology Conference at Metropolitan State College of Denver on April 21. The conference was co-sponsored by the Colorado Psychological Association. The title of Jessor's address was "Risk and Protective Factors in Adolescent Development."

Jessor has been appointed to a three-year tenure on the Board of Trustees of the Alcohol Beverage Medical Research Foundation, located in Baltimore, Maryland. The Foundation provides grant support for research on alcohol use and problem drinking.

Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence

On April 3-4, Delbert S. Elliott began a tour of Colorado with the Colorado Attorney General, Ken Salazar, to present the Safe Communities-Safe Schools Initiative. The first part of their tour involved travel to numerous sites in southeastern Colorado, such as Pueblo, Walsenberg, Trinidad, Springfield, and Lamar. On April 10, the tour continued to Edgewater and from April 17-19 to southwestern Colorado towns, such as, Cortez, Durango, Silverton, Ouray, Montrose, Telluride, and Gunnison.

Elliott was the keynote speaker at the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine Conference on April 5 at Denver University Law School. He spoke on "Violent Careers: A Life Course Developmental Perspective." On April 12, Elliott spoke at the Regional Journalists' Seminar in Kansas City, Missouri, where he presented on "Creating Safe and Friendly Schools." Elliott spoke on "Blueprints for Violence Prevention" at the General Session of Commonwealth Prevention Alliance's Tenth Annual Prevention Conference held on April 13 in State College, Pennsylvania. On April 27, He was co-speaker with Colorado Deputy Attorney General, Donald Quick, at the Boulder Police Academy Citizens Alumni Association meeting at the Boulder Public Library. They spoke on youth violence and Safe Communities-Safe Schools.

Tiffany Shaw and Jane Grady presented the Safe Communities-Safe Schools Initiative to the Colorado Public Safety Partnership on April 12 at the Jefferson County Public Library in Lakewood. Shaw hosted a Safe Communities-Safe Schools exhibit at the Colorado Education Association Annual Assembly on April 14 in Colorado Springs.

On April 18, Sharon Mihalic was the Keynote Speaker at the St. Lucie County Shared Services Network Conference in Ft. Pierce, Florida. She presented on "Best Practices: Programs and Approaches that Really Work." Mihalic presented on "Effective and Ineffective Program Practices" at the Southwest Regional Substance Abuse Conference on April 19 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

On April 18-19, Landa Heys hosted an exhibit and led a workshop at the Montrose Safe Community Forum on "What Works in Violence Prevention."

On April 20, the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence hosted a Community Collaboration Training facilitated by Ziek Saidman and Louise Ninneman of the UCD Centers for Public-Private Sector Cooperation. Jane Grady, Holly Bell, Dorian Wilson, Tiffany Shaw, Jennifer Carroll, Tonya Aultman-Bettridge, Michelle Beaulieu, and Landa Heys attended.

Shaw and Heys attended the Second Annual Juvenile Justice Networking Conference in Denver on April 28.


The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is sponsoring a Summer Training Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research from June 26 to August 18 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Courses and subjects that are not normally integral parts of the curricula of member institutions are emphasized and include topics in research design, statistics, data analysis, and social methodology. Hierarchical Linear Models (Introductory and Advanced), General Structural Equation Models, (Introductory and Intermediate), and Spatial Regression Analysis are a few of the courses being offered. See:


or contact the SSDAC for further information. The SSDAC is the Official Representative to ICPSR for CU Boulder.

In Focus

Environmental Justice and the Political Process

David N. Pellow recently joined the IBS Professional Staff. He received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee in 1992 and his doctorate in Sociology from Northwestern University in 1998. In 1998 he joined the faculty in Sociology and Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado as an Assistant Professor. He is co-author of Urban Recycling and the Search for Sustainable Community Development (Princeton, 2000).

Over the last three decades a growing number of scholars, activists and policy makers have begun to pay attention to the distributive impacts of environmental pollution across dimensions of class and race. The predominant finding to emerge from this research is that environmental inequality is widespread. Environmental inequality and environmental racism are the patterns whereby the poor and "people of color bear the brunt of the nation's pollution problem." Most of the research in the 1980-90s focused on the compelling and frequently encountered phenomenon of disproportionately large number of hazardous waste facilities being located in poor and minority neighborhoods. But it was the stunning finding in a 1987 United Church of Christ Commission on Racial Justice study that race is the single most significant predictor for where one of these facilities would be placed. Furthermore, the study reported that sixty percent of African Americans and Latinos live in communities with one or more hazardous waste facilities. Several other major studies by the U.S. General Accounting Office, the National Law Journal, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, all of which concluded U.S. minorities face a "greater incidence of environmental hazards" than whites. This includes, for example, a range of polluting facilities, such as publicly-owned treatment works, incinerators, oil refineries, and lead smelters.

The impetus for the explosion of this research during the 1980-90s was the growing social movement for environmental justice. The struggle for environmental justice in all communities is one of the most exciting and comprehensive movements for progressive social change to emerge in several decades. This movement is both local and global in its scope and purpose. Leading environmental justice organizations have defined their missions as exposing, studying, and reversing the scourge of environmental inequality in the U.S. and around the world. This agenda necessarily requires activists, policy makers, and scholars to broaden our definition of "the environment" beyond natural resources to include those spaces where people "live, work, and play."

Some of my research in this area includes studies of social movement organizations efforts to negotiate "Good Neighbor Agreements" (GNAs) with corporations (oil refineries, for example) that have a record of pollution violation in low-income and minority communities. GNAs are legally-binding documents that spell out a new relationship among communities, workers, and firms that approaches a partnership, in that it empowers residents with decision-making authority vis-à-vis company practices. Specifically, many GNAs have included provisions wherein community members can regularly monitor pollution levels, investment decisions, and worker safety practices at refineries. Furthermore, many firms that sign GNAs promise to significantly reduce pollution and invest in cleaner, safer technologies.

Oil refineries are organizations that demonstrate the intimate and volatile links between natural resources and society. Our use of these non-renewable resources has not only produced ecological and social devastation in the habitats where extraction takes place (Nigeria and Colombia are particularly extreme examples), but the production and refinement of petroleum is also associated with myriad disasters as well. What this means is that oil refineries in the United States, for example, have an unenviable record of accidents (explosions, burns, spills) that routinely kill, injure, and jeopardize the health of workers and residents. My research indicates that many environmental organizations are using a multi-pronged strategy for addressing these ills. GNAs are one such tactic and have been signed or proposed with several oil corporations, including Ashland, Chevron, Tosco, Conoco, Unocal, Clark, and Sun.

GNAs are valuable for academic and policy research. They move us beyond the "distributional paradigm" in environmental inequality studies (i.e., studies fixated on proving where the problems are) toward: 1) a historical understanding of the causes of environmental inequality (i.e. how and why do we have polluting industries in communities of color?) and, 2) a more practical discussion of how we might correct the problems. Now that we know polluting facilities are more likely to be located in low-income and minority communities, what can we do to address these inequities?

As a student of social movements, a related question that I have pursued is: how has the role of the state changed in this era of globalization vis-à-vis corporations and movements? In a study of GNAs in California and Illinois, I found that the states policy-making authority has waned as transnational corporations emerge as de facto policy-makers and become the primary targets of social movement challengers. The study also revealed that environmental movement strategiessuch as GNAsare being implemented at the local, regional, national, and even transnational scale to respond to and influence this new political process. These findings constitute an improvement of the "political process" model in social movement theory because they challenge its state-centric assumptions. These assumptions include the view that the state is the primary movement target and principal vehicle for reform, and the claim that states are largely autonomous actors. The weakening sovereignty of nation-states via international trade agreements and the increasing frequency of direct negotiations between movements and corporations (independent of states) challenge both of these premises. These trends present opportunities and dilemmas for communities of color already struggling with disproportionate burdens of environmental risk.

David N. Pellow (Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Ethnic Studies) is a Faculty Associate in the Environment and Behavior Program.

The struggle for environmental justice in all communities is one of the most exciting and comprehensive movements for progressive social change to emerge in several decades.

Human Research Committee Deadlines

By federal law, all faculty, staff, and student research that involves any contact with human subjects requires some level of prior review and approval. All new protocols requiring regular review are due in the Graduate School office by 4:00 pm on the following dates:

Contact Sheryl Jensen in the Graduate School at 2-7099 for more information on regular, expedited, and exempt review and to obtain appropriate forms. Forms are also available in department offices. Be sure you are using the most current version of the form. You can also check their Web Site at http://www.colorado.edu/GraduateSchool/HRC/.

Research Proposals Funded

Population Processes Program

R. Silvey
Migration under crisis and recovery: household safety nets in two regions of Indonesia
NSF, 05/15/00 - 10/31/02, new, $133,646

Problem Behavior Program

R. Jessor and F.M. Costa
Adolescent risk behavior and development in China and the US: a cross-national comparative study of risk and protection
WT Grant Foundation, 05/01/00 - 04/30/01, new, $262,624

Research Proposals Submitted

Problem Behavior Program

F.W. Dunford
San Diego Navy experiment
San Diego State University Foundation, 05/01/00 - 04/30/01, cont, $539,383

D.S. Elliott and S. Mihalic
Blueprints for violence prevention: training and technical assistance
DOJ, OJP, 05/01/00 - 04/30/01, cont, $1,275,596

D.S. Elliott
Safe communities-safe schools training conference
State of Colorado, 04/01/00 - 09/30/00, new, $50,000

Hot off the Press

A new edition of the IBS Brochure has just been published. Copies may be obtained by contacting IBS administration at (303) 492-8147 or by emailing:


Upcoming Colloquia

There is an online listing of upcoming and recent colloquia.

Institute of Behavioral Science

Richard Jessor, Institute Director

IBS Newsletter

Julie Klauss and Sugandha Brooks, Co-editors
Richard L. Cook, Web Site Coordinator

Institute of Behavioral Science
University of Colorado at Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0483

(303) 492-8147