Marvin Hayes of the Baltimore Compost Collective leads students from the Ecological Design Collective’s Sustainable Design Practicum in a composting workshop at the Filbert Street Garden in Curtis Bay, South Baltimore.

The JHU Office of Sustainability strives to uphold the ideals of and advance diversity, inclusion, equity, and environmental justice in our efforts as staff, faculty, and students. Our ultimate goal is an equitable and fair environment free from harm for all people. Because BIPOC and low-income populations already bear the burden of climate change impacts, pollution, and other environmental harm, a fight for sustainability is inherently a fight against social injustice everywhere.  


The Office of Sustainability aims to ensure a more diverse group represented in the field and practices of sustainability in higher education, especially at Hopkins. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) tracks Salaries & Status of Sustainability Professionals in Higher Education, but a lack of diversity is evident in these institutional sustainability offices and efforts. The JHU Office of Sustainability wants to work to change that circumstance.

“By acquiescing in an act that causes such suffering to a living creature, who among us is not diminished?”

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, JHU alum


We live and work on the unceded land of the Piscataway People. We ask you to join us in acknowledging the Piscataway community, their elders both past and present, as well as future generations. We also acknowledge that Johns Hopkins was founded upon the exclusions and erasures of many Indigenous peoples, including those on whose land this institution is located. This land was stolen from the Piscataway People through the direct and indirect violence of settler societies, colonialism, and genocidehistorical processes of dispossession which are ongoing. We make this acknowledgement to honor Indigenous peoples and to disrupt our complacency as participants in and beneficiaries of colonial systems.  

Source: TRU JHU


“Environmental Justice refers to those cultural norms and values, rules, regulations, behaviors, policies, and decisions to support sustainability, where all people can hold with confidence that their community and natural environment is safe and productive. Environmental Justice is realized when all people can realize their highest potential, without interruption by environmental racism or inequity. Environmental Justice is supported by decent paying and secure jobs; quality schools and recreation; decent housing and adequate health care; democratic decision-making; and finally, personal empowerment. A community of Environmental Justice is one in which both cultural and biological diversity are respected, and where there is equal access to institutions and ample resources to grow and prosper.”

Source: Greenaction

“Racial discrimination in environmental policy-making, the enforcement of regulations and laws, the deliberate targeting of communities of color for toxic waste facilities, the official sanctioning of the life-threatening presence of poisons and pollutants in our communities, and the history of excluding people of color from leadership of the ecology movements,” also “any policy, practice, or directive that differentially affects or disadvantages (whether intended or unintended) individuals, groups, or communities based on race or color.”

Source: Paul Mohai, David Pellow, J. Timmons Roberts


“‘Climate justice’ is a term, and more than that a movement, that acknowledges climate change can have differing social, economic, public health, and other adverse impacts on underprivileged populations…Low-income communities, people of color, indigenous people, people with disabilities, older or very young people, womenall can be more susceptible to risks posed by climate impacts like raging storms and floods, increasing wildfire, severe heat, poor air quality, access to food and water, and disappearing shorelines.”

Source: Yale Climate Connections

An inclusive form of environmentalism advocating for the protection of all people and the planet. It identifies the ways in which injustices targeting frontline communities and the earth are intertwined. Conversations within environmental spaces cannot minimize or ignore the injustices targeting vulnerable communities and natural ecosystems, but rather denote the ways social inequalities influence our perception of environmentalism, regardless of how subtle or obvious. In this way, intersectional environmentalism calls for justice for people and the planet.

Source: Intersectional Environmentalist


“Socially, a broad range of different or unique identities at the individual or group level, including race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, skin color, immigrant status, language, age, abilities, religion, political affiliation, work style, parental status, etc.”

Source: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

“Creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued as a fully participating member. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people.”

Source: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

“Aims to create fair treatment and access to resources and opportunities for all people with consideration and allowances for historical and current imbalances in power, resources, and opportunities, as well as injustices based on social group identity.”

Source: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health




Johns Hopkins at large is working to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in all realms of work, research, study, and more both at the University level, and on the larger scale in their community of Baltimore. Please see the JHU Roadmap on Diversity & Inclusion for more on this process. The SLC Environmental Justice Working Group has been working hard to provide feedback for part of this process about how Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts at Hopkins can, and should, account for and promote Environmental Justice.

An Environmental Justice Working Group exists in the Sustainability Leadership Council, separate from the four committees, and serves to hold the SLC committees, working groups, and their members accountable for intentionally incorporating themes on environmental justice into their work.

In the greater higher education community, JHU is part of the Ivy+ JEDI Working Group, which aims to engage in deep discovery and arrive at a common understanding of our history, recommend integrative program design that would uphold allyship and joint progress, and communicate with internal and external partners about the imperatives of JEDI. The Working Group follows the guiding principles of Introspection, Anti-racism, Intersectionality, Amplification of diversity efforts, and Synergy.

The JHU Office of Sustainability is also working on a new Sustainability Plan which will provide an update on the university’s environmental planning policy. Community feedback, both within JHU and Baltimore City, will be integral to the successful development of the Plan. The Sustainability Plan process will provide the opportunity to engage and uplift the voices of communities that have historically been, and continue to be, intentionally excluded from these conversations. A successful Sustainability Plan product will incorporate societal needs, recognize the responsibility JHU holds for the development of these inequalities, and adequately reflect how the JHU community can recognize, improve, and be held accountable for its environmental and societal impacts.


We welcome constructive feedback on our Environmental Justice efforts and offerings. Please reach out to sustainability@jhu.edu with questions or comments.

For general DEI feedback, please direct your message to ODI@jhu.edu.

For complaints relating to harassment and discrimination, please contact the Office of Institutional Equity and submit a complaint form.