Key terminology for environmental and health justice


Acute Stress

The activation of our “fight-or-flight” system due to stressors that lasts for minutes or hours and results in the short-term stress response.


A name for a type of biological regulation, which translates to stability through change. It is a scientific understanding of how our bodies achieve adaptability and survival.


The vast diversity of living Beings on Planet Earth.

Biological Inequity

The systemic applications of racism and classism that lead racialised Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) communities to experience disportionate amounts of environmental pollutants and psychosocial stress, which may create a dysregulation of various biological systems.


Those who are racialised as Black, Indigenous, People of Colour.

Chronic Stress

The continued activation of our “fight-or-flight” system due to stressors that lasts days or longer leading to long term health decline from an inability of your body to recover.


The cognitive frameworks and values that unethically organise society by a person’s economic worth. This can be historic and in real-time. It is a system that was set in place as far back as the 4th/5th century when Europe moved towards a feudal system, which created the need for a “labour class” and a “land owning class”. This classification started with those racialised as white and then moved on to include BIPOC communities.


Numeric units that are collected through observation either by Human or machine. These units are then organised to generate information or insights about a particular subject.


An artificial condition driven by systemic discrimination inclduing racism and classism in which a person is systemically allienated from the resources or conditions that are usually considered necessary for a dignified life.


The right of a person to be valued, acknowledged, respected and to be treated ethically. There are principles to dignity; self governance, living with health, given the equatable structures to fulfill their potential without systemic violence. 

Ecological Health

Relating health to the places that we live rather.


An organism’s relationship with their living and non-living surroundings.

Environmental Justice

Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies (EPA definition) or It's the principle that all people are entitled to equal environmental protection regardless of race, color or national origin. It's the right to live and work and play in a clean environment. It is concerned with four major priorities; reducing environmental, health, economic and racial disparities. (Robert Bullard definition)

Environmental Pollutant

The introduction of contaminants or agents into a natural environment that leads to increased negative health effects in the short and long term.

Environmental Racism and Inequity

The systemic, avoidable, and unjust distribution of ecologically healthy environments (those that are free from pollutants, have high biodiversity, and have a healthy microbiome). It also refers to land being unjustly stolen, polluted, or damaged.

Environmental Stressor

An internal or external stressor, such as infections and emotional stressors, or extreme weather conditions and trauma respectively.


Being the same.


The quality of being fair and just.


Health is the ability for our biological systems to enter stability after experiencing trauma or stress throughout our entire lifetime, to give us all an equal opportunity to realise our full potential.

Health inequity

Health inequity refers to the systemic, avoidable, and unjust differences in health outcomes between different racialised and classed social groups

Health Justice

A requirement that all persons have the same chance to be free from hazards and stressors that jeopardise health, fully participate in society, and access opportunity. Health justice addresses the social determinants of health that result in poor health for individuals and consequential negative outcomes for society at large.

Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis

A widely studied biological system based on a communication between the nervous and endocrine (hormones) systems that is responsible for regulating stress reactions, immune system, and fertility.

Index of Multiple Deprivation

A nationwide relative scoring system of defined geographic areas used to encompass a wide range of aspects of an individual’s living conditions such as the levels of crime or barriers to housing services.


A difference in distribution that is random rather than driven by systemic factors. Not related to social justice.


The systematic, avoidable, and unjust differences between different racialised and classed social groups within a population. It is also related to lack of justice and fairness.


Lived Experience

A term used to describe all of the events a person experiences throughout their life whilst inhabiting various places. 

Multi-ethnic working class

Working class people from all racialised categories, including white and BIPOC.


Is a biological science that studies both the brain and the central nervous system.

Non Communicable Diseases

Biological dysregulation that is highly linked to the places we inhabit. They can include cancers, mental health disorders, hypertension, asthma, obesity, etc. These diseases cannot be transmitted from person to person.

Planetary Health

Related to clean air, water, soil, and the systemic regulation of all natural ecosystems that sustain Planetary life. 

Psychosocial Stressor

A stressor based on a perceived threat that someone does not foresee the ability to address, such as socioeconomic uncertainty, crime, and a lack of social cohesion or support.

Social Justice

The international movements and social infrastructure  driven mainly by those racialised as BIPOC. The purpose is to dismantle the frameworks and systems that lead to racialised groups experiencing injustice across all life paradigms; legal, employment, health, environment, climate, food access, etc.


The artificial creation of inequity that helps drive cheap labour for profit. This is enacted by a  person or community  systematically being stripped from the infrastructure which gives the autonomy to access resources. Poverty is also a form of systemic violence.


Is the artificial, unethical, inaccurate, and illegitimate classification of people based on the colour of their skin. It has no scientific or biological basis. There is evidence that this framework was conceptualised in Medieval Europe.

Racialisation or Racialised

Race doesn’t exist and is illegitimate, therefore none of us Black or Brown, we are People. It is more accurate to say racialised as it is the process and enactment of racism. It is this process that is the process not a person’s skin colour.


The cognitive frameworks and values that organise society by the illegitimate classification of race. This creates an inequitable access to all resources; healthcare, employment, clean Water, clean Soil, clean Air, food, mobility, and legal structures. This makes racism the primordial risk factor for poor health outcomes amongst those who are racialised as BIPOC.


Is the biological response to moments and events of acute changes in both the internal and external environment (stress).


A threatening agent to your biological system that either brings you to an unstable biological state or reduces the ability of your system to recover.

Stress Risk Score

A scoring system based on environmental data and researched thresholds to show the rel....


A term used to reference the role the lived experience plays on poor health outcomes.

Symbiotic Living

The will to live in mutual symbiosis with Nature, which entails protecting, knowing, and listening to Nature. It will entail a societal shift towards Planetary Health and away from capital profits.

Systemic Violence

Violence that is systemic rather than physical. Poverty is systemic violence.

Urban Planning

Urban planning is a geographically tiered system governance and policy intended to ensure equitable and fair distribution of homes, commerce, services, and transport. Urban planning is the process of developing and designing urban areas. Encompassed in that process is the use of open land, air, water, and the built environment, including buildings, transportation, economic and social functions.