When Nature is Rats and Roaches

Religious Eco-Justice Activism in Newark, NJ


  • Matthew B. Immergut Purchase College, SUNY
  • Laurel D. Kearns Drew Theological School and Drew University




environmental justice, environmental racism, religious activism, environmental activism


In this article, we set the religious landscape of Newark within the physical environment of Newark, an environment often more suitable for rats and roaches than evocative of the goodness and beauty of ‘God’s creation’. We speci?cally examine a range of strategies and campaigns by religious actors, and their non-religious partners, to ?ght the overwhelming toxicity and neglect of one neighborhood in the city—the Ironbound. We also consider some of the reasons in this particular context for a lack of engagement by religious groups and the dif?culties faced by immigrant populations in addressing environmental problems.


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How to Cite

Immergut, M. B., & Kearns, L. D. (2012). When Nature is Rats and Roaches: Religious Eco-Justice Activism in Newark, NJ. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 6(2), 176–195. https://doi.org/10.1558/jsrnc.v6i2.176