Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Washington
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Cannon, C.E., McInturff, A., Alagona, P. and Pellow, D., 2023. Wild Urban Injustice: A Critical POET Model to Advance Environmental Justice. Environmental Justice.


Background: People and wildlife can both be the subjects of environmental injustice. Although their experiences are clearly not the same, shared logics of oppression often impose harms through the environment on vulnerable and marginalized people and free-living nonhuman animals. Critical environmental justice provides a matrix for analyzing and addressing arrangements of power across categories of difference, whereas human ecology approaches offer frameworks for analyzing interactions across human and environmental systems in urban contexts. We develop a new analytical model—critical population, organization, environment, technology (POET)—to strengthen approaches to studying human–environmental problems by integrating the four pillars of critical environmental justice with the four dimensions of the human ecology POET model.
Methods: This article uses a case study approach of coyotes living in urban areas to demonstrate one use of the critical POET model to analyze linkages between injustices across humans, wildlife, and the environment.
Results: Urbanization as a core spatial logic—through the twin forces of institutional racism and speciesism—has perpetrated harms against people of color and coyotes.
Discussion: Identifying shared logics of oppression is a key step toward the realization of a robust multispecies approach to environmental justice.
Conclusion: The critical POET model provides a matrix for analyzing interactions and relationships that produce and maintain social and environmental injustices for historically and contemporarily marginalized groups, both human and nonhuman.