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Climate Reality Project


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, English Language Arts, Justice, Health

Resource Type

  • Article

Regional Focus

North America, United States

Sacrifice Zones

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  • This article introduces the concept of sacrifice zones and how it relates to climate change, health, and environmental justice.
  • The article highlights the links between pollution, environmental racism, and the impacts of COVID-19.
Teaching Tips


  • The article provides clear examples of how people of color have been disproportionately impacted by industrialization.
  • The language of the article is clear, straightforward, and concise.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have a general understanding of environmental justice before using this resource.
  • The resource can be printed out for those who do not have access to the Internet.


  • As a follow-up activity, have students brainstorm community-based initiatives and grassroots solutions to environmental racism and the problems highlighted in the text.
  • In more advanced classes, have students consider the role a profit-driven economic system with few environmental regulations plays in creating sacrifice zones.
  • This article can also be used in health classes during lessons about the impacts of air and water pollution and in history classes during lessons about the impacts of racism and its history in the United States.
  • Related resources include this video on the ties between racial and environmental justice, this article on environmental racism, and this lesson on redlining.
Scientist Notes
This is an article discussing environmental injustice and the communities that face the challenges of climate change. The website also relates historical environmental injustice to larger health issues, due to preexisting conditions during COVID-19. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: History/Social Studies (6-12)
      • RH.9-10.1 Accurately cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • RST.6-8.5 Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to an understanding of the topic.
      • RST.9-10.8 Determine if the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author's claim or a recommendation for solving a scientific or technical problem.
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