The essay offers a theoretical discussion around the terms ‘environmental conflict’ and ‘action research’. Neuman question - if research action may contribute in determining systemic types of change - is taken into account. The author analyses different environmental conflicts from a located knowledge perspective looking at solutions in terms of community participation and empowerment. As she states "Be the source of inequality class or status, race or culture, gender or sexual orientation, age or different ability, always the social context represents the environment generating both the conflict and the solutions". Cases of research action on environmental conflicts around health and common goods such as water, land, oil and metal are analyzed through the activity of the Centro Documentazione Conflitti Ambientali in Rome, and through the Research Foundation for Science and Technology directed by Vandana Shiva in Dehradun (Uttaranchal, India) operating to preserve seeds and bio-integrity. A stronger commitment of social sciences is seen as necessary to oppose what has been defined as "the degradation of social existence in the globalizing world"(Buroway, 2008). A new paradigm of liberation research (Bullard 2004) may help in reframing an idea of science especially useful to vulnerable communities. Today a knowledge oriented toward liberation is an important step in the transition toward societies based on a healthy relationship between human beings, their time and environment.