Paul Mohai

Professor

Education: 

PhD, Pennsylvania State University (environmental sociology, environmental/natural resource policy)

MS, State University of New York-Syracuse (statistics, environmental science)

BA, University of California-Berkeley (mathematics)

Phone: 
(734)-763-4598

About: 

Professor Mohai’s teaching and research interests are focused on environmental justice, public opinion and the environment, and influences on environmental policy making. He is a founder of the Environmental Justice Program at the University of Michigan and a major contributor to the growing body of quantitative research examining disproportionate environmental burdens and their impacts on low income and people of color communities. In 1990, he co-organized with Dr. Bunyan Bryant the “Michigan Conference on Race and the Incidence of Environmental Hazards”, which was credited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as one of two events bringing the issue of Environmental Justice to the attention of the Agency. He is author or co-author of numerous articles, books, and reports focused on race and the environment, including “Environmental Racism: Reviewing the Evidence”, “Race and the Incidence of Environmental Hazards”, “Toxic Waste and Race at Twenty”, and “Which Came First, People or Pollution?”. His current research involves national level studies examining the causes of environmental disparities and the role environmental factors play in accounting for racial and socioeconomic disparities in health. Through a grant from the Kresge Foundation, he is also examining pollution burdens around public schools and the links between such burdens and student performance and health.

Research: 
  • 2015­-2017: Paul Mohai (PI), Byoung­Suk Kweon (Co­PI). School and Air Toxics Risk: Building Michigan School Siting Policy – Kresge Foundation, $196,557.
  • 2011-2014: Paul Mohai (PI), James Boyce (PI); Manuel Pastor (PI); Michael Ash (Co-PI). Collaborative Research on the Correlates and Consequences of Risks from Airborne Toxics: Dynamic Spatial Analysis – National Science Foundation, $338,548.

Accolades: 
  • Professor Mohai’s article “Which came first, people or pollution? Assessing the disparate siting and post-siting demographic change hypotheses of environmental injustice” was selected for inclusion in Environmental Research Letters Highlights of 2015 collection for the article’s “novelty, scientific impact, and advance made within the field” (2015). http://iopscience.iop.org/journal/1748-9326/page/Highlights-of-2015
  •  Awarded the NAACP Environmental and Social Justice Award for Outstanding Service in the Struggle for Environmental and Social Justice (1997).

Select publications: 
  • Mohai, Paul, and Robin Saha. 2015. “Which came first, people or pollution? Assessing the disparate siting and post-siting demographic change hypotheses of environmental injustice.” Environmental Research. Letters. 10 115008: 1-17.
  • Mohai, Paul, Byoung­Suk Kweon, Sangyun Lee, and Kerry Ard. 2011. “Air Pollution around Schools Is Linked To Poorer Student Health And Academic Performance.” Health Affairs 30(5):  852­862.
  • Mohai, Paul, Paula Lanz, Jeff Morenoff, James House, and Richard P. Mero. 2009. “Racial and Socioeconomic Disparities in Residential Proximity to Polluting Industrial Facilities: Evidence from the Americans' Changing Lives Study.” American Journal of Public Health 99 (S3): S649­S656.
  • Mohai, Paul, David N. Pellow, and Timmons Roberts. 2009. "Environmental Justice." Annual Review of Environment and Resources 34:405–30.
  • Mohai, Paul, and Robin Saha. 2006. “Reassessing Racial and Socioeconomic Disparities in Environmental Justice Research.” Demography 43(2): 383-399.

Affiliations: 
  • Member, American Sociological Association (Environment, Technology & Society Section).
  • Member, Rural Sociological Society (Natural Resources Research Group).
  • Faculty Associate, Institute for Social Research (ISR), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
  • Faculty Associate, Program in the Environment (PITE), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
  • Member, Advisory Board of the Global Environmental Justice Movement Project “ENVJUSTICE” led by Professor Joan Martinez-Alier of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and funded by the European Research Council (ERC).

Service: 
  • Member of the National Planning Committee for the 20th Anniversary Commemoration of the Presidential Environmental Justice Executive Order 12898 (2014).    
  • Member of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (2007-2013).
  • Member of the State of Michigan’s Environmental Justice Working Group, charged with developing an implementation plan for the Governor’s 2007 Environmental Justice Executive Directive (2008-2010).
  • Co-author of the United Church of Christ’s report Toxic Wastes and Race at Twenty with Drs Robert Bullard, Robin, Saha, and Beverly Wright, a 20th anniversary update to  the landmark  report Toxic Waste and Race in the United States, which was credited for bringing national attention to the issue of environmental racism and injustice (2007).
  • Co-organizer with Dr. Bunyan Bryant of the 1990 Michigan Conference on Race and the Incidence of Environmental Hazards, which was credited by the U.S. EPA as one of two events to bring the issue of environmental justice to the attention of the agency (1990).