Arts and Humanities

Publication Date



Communities of color are more likely to experience instances of environmental discrimination in the siting of waste facilities, urban food deserts, nuclear waste sites, and general exposure to inordinately high concentrations of hazardous substances. Environmental justice is a dynamic and significant transformative movement taking place in minority communities. The rhetorical strategies and appeals of environmental justice communication are examined in this presentation. Minorities living in affected areas are developing their own discourses independent from mainstream discourse. When minority groups coalesce around a unifying issue—environmental justice—they are reframing environmental rhetoric in a manner which benefits them and solidifies their place in environmentalism discourse. Minority residents living in highly polluted areas use the strategy of kairos (the concept of timeliness and opportunity), the appeals of ethos (the appeal of ethics) and pathos (the appeal of emotions) to reframe environmental discourse to one of rectitude and rationality. Minorities use appeals and strategies in three key ways. Through kairotic moments, activists critically interrupt discourses which privilege inaction over community protests. They use ethical appeals to tie activism and political discourse into scientific and technical communication. Lastly, they use emotional appeals and image events to persuade audiences to recognize the injustice of environmental discrimination. How communities of color use rhetorical appeals and strategies in environmental justice communication has important implications on scientific and technical communication. Most importantly, the environmental justice movement encourages that we all fight for environmentally responsible initiatives that promote healthy lives and a healthy planet.

Instructor’s Name

Jennifer Veltsos


Master of Arts in English, Technical Communication Option

Document Type


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License