2023 Undergraduate Research Showcase


Environmental Justice Through Water Crisis: Lessons from Flint

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Christopher Courtheyn


The Flint water crisis has become one of the most well known examples of environmental injustice in the United States today and has gained worldwide attention due to the stagnant pace of acknowledging and responding to the crisis and the unsafe conditions that residents are being subjected to. Considering the switch from local to state control, the financial stress placed upon the city, and other structural issues, there is significant reason to believe that the Flint Water Crisis was caused by urban planning issues and a general lack of care. In this work, we will examine how the environmental justice movement in Flint highlights systemic issues within the United State’s water policy, whether or not the demands made by the movement have been met, and how Flint set the precedent for environmental justice, while also analyzing the ways in which globalization plays a role in this process. In efforts to provide an understanding of what elements led to the Flint water crisis, we employ a content analysis of academic articles, news reports and movement blogs, while analyzing the relationship between movement demands and impacts on policy reform or lack thereof.

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