There’s Something In The Water

Environmental Racism in Indigenous & Black Communities

By Ingrid R. G. Waldron  

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In “There’s Something In The Water”, Ingrid R. G. Waldron examines the legacy of environmental racism and its health impacts in Indigenous and Black communities in Canada, using Nova Scotia as a case study, and the grassroots resistance activities by Indigenous and Black communities against the pollution and poisoning of their communities.

Using settler colonialism as the overarching theory, Waldron unpacks how environmental racism operates as a mechanism of erasure enabled by the intersecting dynamics of white supremacy, power, state-sanctioned racial violence, neoliberalism and racial capitalism in white settler societies. By and large, the environmental justice narrative in Nova Scotia fails to make race explicit, obscuring it within discussions on class, and this type of strategic inadvertence mutes the specificity of Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian experiences with racism and environmental hazards in Nova Scotia. By redefining the parameters of critique around the environmental justice narrative and movement in Nova Scotia and Canada, Waldron opens a space for a more critical dialogue on how environmental racism manifests itself within this intersectional context.

Waldron also illustrates the ways in which the effects of environmental racism are compounded by other forms of oppression to further dehumanize and harm communities already dealing with pre-existing vulnerabilities, such as long-standing social and economic inequality. Finally, Waldron documents the long history of struggle, resistance, and mobilizing in Indigenous and Black communities to address environmental racism.

“Reckoning with Canada’s denial of its colonial past, present and erasure of marginalized communities, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in the impacts of environmental racism in Canada and beyond.”

— Elliot Page

  • Kindle
  • ISBN: 9781773630595
  • July 2018
  • $21.99
  • For sale worldwide
  • EPUB
  • ISBN: 9781773630588
  • July 2018
  • $24.99
  • For sale worldwide
  • PDF
  • ISBN: 9781773633749
  • March 2021
  • $24.99
  • For sale worldwide
  • Winner, Society for Socialist Studies’ Errol Sharpe Book Prize (2020)

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  • “Waldron contends that issues of environmental racism cannot be disentangled from racial capitalism, and other forms of systemic social structures “within which race, gender, income, class, and other social factors get inscribed in subtle ways to cause harm to mostly rural, remote, geographically isolated and, therefore,‘invisible’ communities” in Nova Scotia.”

    — Transmotion, Vol 5, No 1 (2019) (full review)

  • “Congratulations to Dr. Waldron on her Research Canada Award,” says Brenda Merritt, dean of the Faculty of Health. “Dr. Waldron has collaborated with Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian communities and their allies to create awareness and address cases of environmental racism through research, knowledge translation, legislation and advocacy. Her tireless work with these communities has elevated and amplified the voices of affected communities in Nova Scotia on a global scale and is helping to connect them with communities around the world that are on the frontlines of advancing environmental justice. Dr. Waldron uplifts the Faculty and Dalhousie through her community-engaged research and advocacy.”

    In March, There’s Something in the Water — the documentary she co-produced with actor Elliot Page — was released worldwide on the Netflix streaming service. The film is based on Dr. Waldron’s book of the same name which examines the legacy of environmental racism and its health impacts on Indigenous and Black communities in Nova Scotia. The documentary moved audiences and critics alike at the TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) and FIN (Atlantic International Film Festival) in fall 2019.

    — Terry Murray-Arnold, Dal News, Dec 2020 (full review)


  • Acknowledgments
  • Preface
  • The Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities & Community Health Project
  • A History of Violence: Indigenous & Black Conquest, Dispossession & Genocide in Settler Colonial Nations
  • Re-Thinking Waste: Mapping Racial Geographies of Violence on the Colonial Landscape
  • Not in My Backyard: The Politics of Race, Place & Waste in Nova Scotia
  • Sacrificial Lives: How Environmental Racism Gets Under the Skin
  • Narratives of Resistance, Mobilizing & Activism in the Fight Against Environmental Racism in Nova Scotia
  • Conclusion: The Road Up Ahead
  • Appendices
  • References
  • Index


  • Ingrid R. G. Waldron

    Ingrid R. G. Waldron is an associate professor in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie University and the Director of the Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities & Community Health Project (The ENRICH Project).

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