© 2020

Working-Class Environmentalism

An Agenda for a Just and Fair Transition to Sustainability


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Karen Bell
    Pages 1-26
  3. Karen Bell
    Pages 27-49
  4. Karen Bell
    Pages 51-72
  5. Karen Bell
    Pages 73-108
  6. Karen Bell
    Pages 109-138
  7. Karen Bell
    Pages 139-161
  8. Karen Bell
    Pages 163-191
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 233-292

About this book



“At last, a book that properly explores the huge significance of social class in environmental issues, and environmentalism. ...This book asks some difficult questions, and offers some uncomfortable answers but, in doing so, will hopefully wake British environmentalism from its slumber over issues around class and injustice. And definitely not before time.” —Craig Bennett, CEO, Friends of the Earth England and Wales, UK

“This book argues that class is everywhere. Karen Bell shows how disproportionately environmental issues affect the working class, points the finger clearly at the structures of capitalism, and connects issues of class inequality to environmental inequality.”—Lisa McKenzie, Assistant Professor in Sociology, University of Durham, UK

 “Using evidence, analysis and her own hard-won experience, Karen Bell documents the way that environmental hazards and degradation impact more on working class people. Yet at the same time much environmentalist thinking undervalues working class lives and ignores their voices. This can in turn foster green policies focused too much on moralising and behaviour change rather than structural causes.”—Ian Gough, Professor Emeritus of Social Policy, LSE, UK

This book presents a timely perspective that puts working-class people at the forefront of achieving sustainability.

Bell argues that environmentalism is a class issue, and confronts some current practice, policy and research that is preventing the attainment of sustainability and a healthy environment for all. She combines two of the biggest challenges facing humanity: that millions of people around the world still do not have their social and environmental needs met (including healthy food, clean water, affordable energy, clean air); and that the earth’s resources have been over-used or misused.

Bell explores various solutions to these social and ecological crises and lays out an agenda for simultaneously achieving greater well-being, equality and sustainability. The result will be an invaluable resource for practitioners and policy-makers working to achieve environmental and social justice, as well as to students and scholars across social policy, sociology, human geography, and environmental studies.


environmental classism environmental justice sustainability social justice Social inequality environmental quality environmentalism working class environmental politics

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of the West EnglandBristolUK

About the authors

Karen Bell is Senior Lecturer in Geography and Environment at the University of West England, UK.

Bibliographic information