Bindu Panikkar is an Assistant Professor at the Environmental Program, Rubenstein School for Environment and Natural Resources at University of Vermont. She works at the intersection of Environmental Health, Environmental Justice, and Science, Technology & Society Studies. Her work examines environmental controversies surrounding emerging contaminants, land use development, and technology politics and its social, legal, ethical, and environmental justice implications.
She has been working on environmental health and environmental justice issues since 2005 starting with her doctoral research exploring occupational health issues among immigrant workers in construction, cleaning, and day laborer industries in Somerville, Massachusetts. Her current work examines a range of environmental justice issues in Vermont including environmental health disparities in the state, migrant occupational health issues, food, energy, and transportation justice, and land use policies that reinforce whiteness of Vermont.
She is also working on a monograph examining environmental justice controversies surrounding new extractive resource expansions of Pebble Mine in the Bristol Bay and the Donlin Mine in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and the visions of alternate materials and post-carbon futures proposed by activists, native communities, artists, theorists, media, and cultural producers in Alaska. This project examines why particular imaginaries take hold while others do not and how certain epistemologies and ontologies are enhanced or undermined. It argues that the mine permitting processes are not only highly visible battles over land and resources but are active spaces for debating and addressing inequities, just sustainable material and relational practices, and indigenous sovereignty.
Her prior work examined community health outcomes from PFAS exposure in Merrimack, New Hampshire; transboundary conflicts surrounding water in the Kabul River Basin; impacts on navigation, food security, and health from sea ice change in the communities of Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay in Nunavut, Canada; reflexive research ethics in fetal tissue xenotransplantation research; the ethics of uranium mining research; and the teratogenic effects of depleted uranium.
Bindu is also a fellow at the Gund Institute of the Environment and the Associate Director of Institute of Environmental Diplomacy and Security. She also serves on the board of Community Action Works, Vermont Natural Resources Council, and the BIPOC Advisory committee of RENEW Vermont.