Students touring an arboretum

The Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Sustainability Initiative (JEDSI) at the Yale School of the Environment examines the relationship between social inequalities, lived experiences, and environmental outcomes.

JEDSI Focus Areas

Research Lab

Environmental Grantmaking

We conduct groundbreaking research on funding differences in the environmental sector. We investigate:  

• Which organizations receive the most funding
• The racial composition of organizations receiving funding
• The types of organizations funding environmental justice work 

Examining Disparities in Environmental Grantmaking

Environmental History

Our work analyzes the contributions of leading figures in the environmental sector. We highlight the experiences and contributions of people of color and women as their voices are often ignored in conservation narratives.

The rise of the American Conservation Movement - Power privilege and Environmental Protection. Dorceta E. Taylor

Environmental Justice

We study the current and historical environmental justice (EJ) movement and engage with EJ activists and communities. We examine environmental inequalities, resilience, and sustainability.  

We research the occurrence of: 

• Environmental hazards, 
• Discriminatory policies and practices, and
• Document the existence of open space and other amenities in EJ communities. 

We identify ways community resilience can help communities to thrive and foster long-term sustainability. 

Toxic Communities - Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution and Residential Mobility

Food Justice

We research food and farming access, sovereignty, and food justice, including:  

• Food systems,
• Food insecurity,
• Access to healthy and affordable foods,
• Food sovereignty and food justice.  

We investigate discriminatory policies and practices that farmers of color contend with.  

We collect data on the types of food outlets in cities and study mechanisms that communities and groups use to enhance food sovereignty and reduce food insecurity. 

Map of the United States highlighting areas researched.

Institutional Diversity

We produce pathbreaking research and publications on diversity in the environmental sector. Our research examines:  

• Staff, board, and member demographics;
• Wages and equity in organizations;
• Recruitment and retention;
• The adoption of diversity measures and the disclosure of diversity activities; and
• Leadership.  

Our work helps enhance diversity in environmental organizations and the broader environmental movement. 

Institutional Diversity


We research issues impacting U.S. cities. We investigate:  

• Food accessibility, air pollution, and green stormwater infrastructure
• Land use and historical redlining policies
• Disparate impacts on different demographic groups, particularly people of color.  

Our work examines intersectionality, lived experiences, and social justice movements in urban settings.

The Environment and the People in American Cities 1600's - 1900's

Green Infrastructure

We research stormwater infrastructure and other green infrastructure projects, including:  

• Locations of urban flooding
• Green infrastructure impact on stormwater and flooding
• Demographic variables affecting green spaces, and
• Health impacts of green space access 

Green Infrastructure

Outdoor Experiences

JEDSI investigates the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, and class differences with environmental attitudes and perceptions. This research helps:

• Policymakers,
• Organization leaders, and
• Activists understand: 
• How people from different backgrounds and cultures experience, perceive, and relate to nature and the outdoors. 

White Water Rafting

Internship Programs

Environmental Fellows Program

12-week internship for graduate students. Fellows intern at environmental foundations or nonprofits and receive a $12,000 stipend. 

Beekeeper holding up a honeycomb.

Yale Conservation Scholars - Early Leadership Initiative

8-week internship for undergraduates. Scholars intern at environmental nonprofits, research organizations, or governmental organizations and receive an $8,000 stipend.

Envrionmental Fellows posed for a group photo

People of Color Environmental Professionals Database

JEDSI profiles environmental professionals of color with outstanding careers in the environmental sector. Our growing database contains more than 200 individuals, with hundreds more coming soon. The profiles highlight different paths to senior leadership positions. Looking for a mentor? Use the database to find and connect with professionals. 

People of Color Environmental Professionals

New Horizons in Conservation Conference

An annual gathering, New Horizons seeks to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the environmental sector. New Horizons is for: 

• Students and professionals from underrepresented backgrounds in environmental conservation
• Individuals committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

New Horizons features:  

• Networking 
• Professional development workshops 
• Field trips to leading organizations 
• Opportunities to learn from sector leaders 

New Horizons participants