Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Richard Milligan

Second Advisor

Katherine Hankins

Third Advisor

Sarah Ledford


An assumption that marginalized communities are not interested in the environment is one barrier to diversifying environmental affairs. Barriers like this one have shaped the ways that these communities respond to both enduring and emerging injustices. It is vital to understand how marginalized communities address environmental injustices including both disparate exposure to environmental harm and exclusions from environmental decision-making. This case study investigates five of Atlanta’s African American-led community-based environmental groups that each work on water governance issues in predominantly Black watersheds in Atlanta: the Atlanta Watershed Learning Network, Environmental Community Action, the Proctor Creek Stewardship Council, the South River Watershed Alliance, and the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance. Through their continued efforts, these community-based-groups have worked to diversify mainstream environmentalism while destigmatizing myths associated with African American involvement in the urban environmental landscape.