Cities of plight: Climate justice intervention in Baltimore and Seattle

June 2021
Senna Catenacci

Though the climate crisis will eventually spare no one, it is inherently an issue of justice and equity. This paper aims to discern how two coastal cities - Baltimore and Seattle - are contending with climate change and, more specifically, climate justice. The latter is widely considered to be composed of three dimensions, or pillars: recognitional, distributional, and procedural justice. Further attention is paid to how the demographic makeup of these places may interact with the action present there. This research takes the form of two case studies, analyzed through a framework consisting of each of the three climate justice pillars. The results of this investigation indicate that while each city is relatively comparable in what they have done, more significant are the large differences in the role that government and nonprofit actors have played. This research provides policymakers with explicit examples of the efforts underway in Baltimore and Seattle to both recognize and elevate climate justice, while also serving to call more attention to climate justice in these cities, and others.