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CAPE FEAR MEMORIAL BRIDGE CLOSURE: UPDATES, RESOURCES, AND CONTEXT

CoastLine: Soil scientist Britt Moore: Environmental Justice should guide culturally-responsive science

Eric Britt Moore, PhD., Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Eric Britt Moore, PhD., Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Environmental justice can be complicated. The way studies are set up, the way the researchers communicate with the subjects of the study, and what the scientists do with the results – all those protocols are part of what Dr. Britt Moore calls “culturally-responsive science”.

Why is it that in 2023 race and income are still two of the biggest predictors of how close you live to an environmental hazard?

This is the question that Dr. Eric Britt Moore raises when he thinks about how to conduct his science – soil science.

There’s a large body of research to support that opening statement, including thisconclusion from a study published by the NIH:

“Blacks and respondents at lower educational levels and, to a lesser degree, lower income levels were significantly more likely to live within a mile of a polluting facility… Racial disparities were especially pronounced in metropolitan areas of the Midwest and West and in suburban areas of the South. [These] results add to the historical record demonstrating significant disparities in exposures to environmental hazards in the US population and provide a paradigm for studying changes over time in links to health.”

But that’s only a part of the environmental justice picture. Even the way studies are set up, the way the researchers communicate with the subjects of the study, and what the scientists do with the results – all those protocols should be part of what Dr. Britt Moore calls “culturally-responsive science”.

In September of 2022, Professor Moore and his team went to Waccamaw Siouan tribal lands in Bladen and Columbus Counties to test the soil. This was at the request of members of the Waccamaw Siouan community.

Phase 1 of the study is now complete, and we’ll learn about those results – only because the tribe has granted Dr. Moore permission to talk with us.

Professor Eric Britt Mooreof the Environmental Science Department at the University of North Carolina Wilmington leads with the idea that the practice of environmental science should serve the interests of all. Everyone, he says, has the right to healthy soil and clean water.

Links & Resources:

Soul Science Project

Waccamaw Siouan STEM Studio

Presentation, Duke University: Utilizing Culturally-Responsive Soil Science to promote Environmental Health in Marginalized Communities

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.