The concept of environmental inequality appeared at the end of the 70s and at the beginning of the 80s after researchers, activists and government officials began to collect data that in turn showed patterns where social inequality and environmental harm became evident (Brehm, 2013). An additional term used to describe the situation is environmental justice, which according to the sociologist Robert Bullard, misled the reality by giving the impression that all people and communities are entitled to equal protection by environmental
Certain environmental justice frameworks attempt to turn the dominant environmental paradigm on its head and seek to prevent environmental threats before they occur. This paradigm is known as the Precautionary
One of the first influences on the deliberation on Environmental Justice was The Civil Rights Movement in the United States of America. Leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. fought hard to ensure that social transformation and power be established for African Americans, especially those in the southern states as well as those in the northern inner-city parts. Activists like King altered the philosophy on Environmental Justice arguing that there was a lopsided effect that proved that environmental hazards were not accidental. What environmentalists advocated instead was that environmental dangers resulted from racial segregation that placed power plants, nuclear plants, and other potential ecological hazards in areas with a high concentration of minority and low income groups. Several activists defined this as “environmental racism.”
Those who argue that environmental racism is a serious problem in America and the whole world, and their number are growing, are correct in at least one of their assertions. Racism exists. environmental problems exist. these facts, however, do not reveal whether or not environmental racism has occurred in any given instance. this might be an unimportant distinction but for the fact that some argue that civil right laws be applied to pollution events and related regulatory violations.
Environmental inequality from a social justice perspective is based on the notion that there is discrimination in the policies that allow for establishing the sites and permits for industrial waste, which results in minorities and those living in poverty suffering from a greater share of the effects of pollution. This leads to environmental racism which is the underlying fact that racial and ethnic groups that are underprivileged, are
The contamination began in April 2014 after the source of the town’s water supply was switched from Lake Huron to the Flint river in order to reduce governmental costs. This was done despite the fact that the Flint River had a strong history of pollution. Among this pollution included car parts, a dead body, and high levels of chemicals. (Semules par 5). Once the pipes were switched there were several complaints of the water having a foul smell and metallic taste (Foley par 4). In the beggining the government denied that anything was wrong despite the fact that lab examinations of the water proved otherwise. Two years after the Flint water crisis gained media attention, the Senate passed a bill that would provide Flint residents with water, but this is
Environmental justice links a number of social movements—anti-racism, Aboriginals rights, and the mainstream environmental movement—and addresses the problem of environmental racism (Gosine & Teelucksignh, 2008, p. 11). The concept of environmental justice in the U.S was associated with the struggles over toxic waste sites and the call for equal treatment of all communities, radicalized or not (p. 9). It was about looking at human health rather than preserving areas deemed as “playgrounds for the rich.”
The Flint water crisis has left no one from the damage, even the pets are getting sick of the poisoned water. That was what residents Lee and Ernie of Flint Michigan saw with their cat. Flint is a city in Michigan with a total population of approximately one hundred thousand residents. The issue with the water for Flints and its residents stated in 2014 when the city decided to switch from their water resource from the city of Detroit to a local river. Immediately after the switch residents filed complaints about the water’s smell and color. In Ryan Felton’s “Flint’s Water Crisis: What went wrong,” it is apparent that the crisis should not have happened, and that flint was neglected just because it was an impoverished city.
The definition of “environmental racism” is laid out in Matthew Desmond and Mustafa Emirbayer’s “Race in America” as, “any environmental policy, practice, or directive, that disproportionately disadvantages (intentionally or unintentionally) nonwhite communities” (Desmond and Emirbayer 196). These communities are often in close proximity to environmental hazards, are targets for waste dumps, and are at higher risk for harmful air and water pollution (196). Environmental racism has been formed over the decades, through the processes of redlining, blockbusting, and other housing discrimination practices, in efforts to keep people of
“The scale of government neglect in the water crisis in Flint, Michigan , could place the city along some of most infamous environmental disasters in U.S. history”-Lenny Bernstein.
An attempt to save money by changing water sources by an indifferent government caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, negative health effects, and a total loss in faith in the government of Michigan. Although measures have been taken to mitigate these problems, their effects have already marred the city of Flint and its
Environmental racism is what comes to mind regarding the water crisis in Flint, Michigan comes up. I believe that if the city wasn’t mostly black, the state of Michigan probably could’ve already solved the problem. Governments and company’s prey on groups that lack political clout and resources. In Flint, the inhabitants probably did not have a say in the switch of their water source. In Russia, the factory has preyed on the residents’ need for jobs and despite the adverse health and environmental effects, the residents choose to live there. When companies and governments prey on these population, the residents have three options; either be resilient and stay, leave the place, or try to change the problem.
The Afton protests energized a new faction within the civil rights movement that saw the environment as another front in the struggle for justice. Many early environmental justice leaders came out of the civil rights movement. They brought to the environmental movement the same tactics they had used in civil rights struggles -- marches, petitions, rallies, coalition building, community empowerment through education, litigation and nonviolent direct action,” (The Environmental Justice.) But many argue the fact that even if civil rights did not happen, the community members of government intentionally polluted waste lands would still
Hazards and pollutants are apparent in a variety of outcomes. Possible outcomes include asthma, cancer and chemical poisoning (Gee and Payne-Sturges 2004: 1647). Furthermore, “Although debated, the main hypothesis explaining these disparities is that disadvantaged communities encounter greater exposure to environmental toxins such as air pollution, pesticides, and lead” (Gee and Payne-Sturges 2004: 1647). Therefore, disadvantaged groups, such as people of color and the poor, experience greater environmental risks. Additionally, “Blacks in particular are exposed to a disproportionate amount of pollution and suffer the highest levels of lead and pesticide poisoning and other associated health problems” (Jones and Rainey 2006: 474). People of color, essentially, compete to live healthily. For example, African-Americans and Africans alike, struggle with the negative affects of oil refineries and unresponsive governments. The same can be said for Hispanics in California and the natives of Ecuador, who are forced to cope with the pollution of the Texaco oil refineries (Bullard 2001: 4). Environmental racism not only exploits natural resources, it abuses and profits from the communities involved. Governments and polluting facilities will continue to capitalize on the economic susceptibilities of poor communities, states, nations and regions for their “unsound” and hazardous operations (Bullard 2001: 23).
The placement of companies deleterious to the environment and well-being of humans is something that prosperous communities are not quite familiar with; in contrast, it is something well-known to less affluent communities. The imbalance of classification shows a lack of environmental justice in low-income and minority communities. According to the EPA, or Environmental Protection Agency, “environmental justice is the fair treatment… 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, n.d.). However, the environmental justice, the EPA mentions is not prevalent in communities of color, but rather its counterpart is: environmental injustice. Environmental injustice, or environmental racism, being the excessive placing of perilous waste and contaminating polluters near communities of color (Cha, 2016). Although often overlooked, environmental racism is an extensive problem that negatively affects minority communities in Southeast Los Angeles.