Mon, Oct 4, 2021

11 AM – 12:30 PM PDT (GMT-7)

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About this event



Dr. Joy Banner - Descendents Project, Whitney Plantation, Fee-Fo-Lay Cafe, Stop the Wallace Grain Elevator Group

Nancy Bui - Justice for Formosa’s Victims (JFFV)

Diane Wilson - San Antonio Bay Waterkeepers, Nurdle Patrol

Join us for the Disaster STS Network’s Fall 2021 virtual tour of Louisiana's Cancer Alley, a corridor of chemical plants along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans with shockingly high levels of pollution, cancer and COVID-19. Cancer Alley was also devastated by Hurricane Ida, an especially intense September 2021 storm driven by climate change. Community activists are pushing back, reaching for a just transition.

Cancer Alley powerfully illustrates historically produced vulnerability and disadvantage. The chemical plants in Cancer Alley are built where there once were sugar plantations. Descendants of enslaved communities still live nearby. The Descendents' Project and Whitney Plantation are co-organizers of the tour.

Cancer Alley also provides powerful examples of Black resistance, resourcefulness and global solidarity. Stopping the construction of what would be one of the world’s largest plastics plant has been a huge recent win, accomplished through a transnational environmental justice coalition. The activism linked communities in Texas, Taiwan and Vietnam dealing with harms caused by Formosa Plastics Corporation.

In conversation with people who live and work in Cancer Alley, this tour draws out what environmental injustice and racism looks like on the ground.

The tour also puts Cancer Alley in a global frame.The tour was collaboratively developed by university researchers (including student researchers) and community activists, drawing on and further building out an expansive, publicly accessible digital archive designed to support environmental justice.

The tour is freely open to all. Students, teachers and activists of all ages can learn about an exemplary case of environmental injustice.

The October 4th event will begin with a 30-minute virtual tour with stops and stories at the Whitney Plantation (focused on the lives and perspectives of enslaved people in Louisiana), the Fee-Fo-Lay Cafe (where community knowledge is shared and the region’s storytelling traditions are preserved), and places where community members are organizing resistance to the building of still more petrochemical plants in the area.

The virtual tour will be followed by a 30-minute Q&A with community activists. Following the Q&A, participants will be invited to participate in a collaborative analysis of the region as an exemplary case of environmental injustice, exploring supplemental material in the project’s digital archive.

This is an opportunity to use an interdisciplinary environmental injustice framework (see below) that can be used to characterize and address environmental injustice in many different places, drawing out similarities, differences and opportunities for shared work.


  • What is the setting of this case?
  • What environmental threats (from worst case scenarios, pollution and climate change) are there in this setting?
  • What intersecting factors -- social, cultural, political, technological, ecological -- contribute to environmental health vulnerability and injustice in this setting?
  • Who are stakeholders, what are their characteristics, and what are their perceptions of the problems?
  • What have different stakeholder groups done (or not done) in response to the problems in this case?
  • How have environmental problems in this setting been reported on by media, environmental groups, companies and government agencies?
  • What local actions would reduce environmental vulnerability and injustice in this setting?
  • What extra-local actions (at state, national or international levels) would reduce environmental vulnerability and injustice in this setting and similar settings?
  • What kinds of data and research would be useful in efforts to characterize and address environmental threats in this setting and similar settings?

What intersecting injustices produce environmental injustice in this setting?


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Illuminations: The Chancellor's Arts & Culture Initiative | Website | View More Events

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