Combating Climate Injustices: An Informal Science and Popular Education Approach to Addressing Environmental Health Disparities

Shana Sandhaus, Mónica D. Ramírez-Andreotta, Aminata Kilungo, Ann Marie Wolf, Flor Sandoval, Palmira Henriquez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


As global warming worsens, addressing environmental health disparities and justice is increasingly important. This necessity is evident in southern metropolitan Tucson, Arizona, an area underserved and disproportionately experiencing the effects of climate change. Including underserved groups in problem solving can spur knowledge generation and the building of community capacity to address and mitigate environmental health challenges posed by climate justice. This article describes a community-based project that utilized a peer education framework coupled with citizen science design. Community health workers (promotoras) were trained in environmental health, climate change, and environmental monitoring protocols to then educate and train families about these same subjects. The study goal was to evaluate science and environmental health learning, awareness, and self-efficacy at the promotora and residential levels resulting from intensive 40-hour trainings, peer education via home visits, and environmental monitoring. Pre- and postsurveys were completed by the promotoras and the families they visited. Motivations for participation as well as changes in self-efficacy and knowledge were analyzed. Results revealed that the promotora’s motivations were primarily internal and they were concerned with health. Using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test (p =.05), it was observed that for both study groups, knowledge of water and energy conservation statistically increased, as well as self-efficacy for environmental action and scientific learning. This article demonstrates that promotoras are critical in environmental health and climate science peer education. These findings can be used to further develop peer education citizen science projects in underserved communities, ensuring that efforts increase participants’ learning, self-efficacy, and enhance social–ecological outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-269
Number of pages10
JournalPedagogy in Health Promotion
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • citizen science
  • climate justice
  • community health worker
  • peer education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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