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Environmental Justice in Different Communities Report (Assessment)

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Updated: May 19th, 2021

How did the Environmental Justice movement redefine the environment?

It is essentially everywhere in the physical and natural world. It also includes every place where humans exist and live their life. This is different from the conventional perception of the environment as only referring to nature.

How are some communities more equal than others?

There is a distinct division of communities based on socio-economic and possibly racial status. Therefore, communities of color and low-income become victims to unfair enforcement of environmental regulations and a lack of delegated public resources.

What is locally unwanted land use (LULU)?

It is defined as locally unwanted land use, which is essentially urban planning which creates or causes detrimental effects for people living nearby. This may range from health hazards to economic depression and lack of public sector infrastructure.

What is Environmental Justice?

The principle that all people and communities, regardless of background, lifestyle or beliefs, deserve equal protection in their respective environment. This includes having access to basic feasible social institutions and being protected by law on a non-discriminatory basis, the enforcement of fundamental human rights.

Are you an environmentalist? Why or why not?

Yes, because based on the framework of the environmental justice movement, every person who is living is. Since humans require natural resources such as air and water to survive, it becomes an automatic concern when this concept is endangered.

Why does place matter?

The place of habitat impacts one’s health and quality of life. The place is often correlated with politics, geography, race, and other factors which affect the distribution of pollution levels and access to necessary infrastructure. There is an inherent link between racial communities and hazardous waste, resulting in environmental racism.

What was the summit in 1991? What did they discuss?

It was the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, a meeting to discuss the issues affecting the minority communities. It included talking about history, cultural heritage, and cooperation. The summit developed 17 principles of environmental justice, resulting in the birth of the movement.

What did the Toxic Waste and Race report find?

In 2007, 57% of people living in proximity to commercial waste hazardous facilities were people of color. When the facilities are clustered, the number is around 70%. Despite being only 1/3rd of the national population, these communities are evidently overrepresented in the areas concentrated around hazardous sites.

What’s the case in Dixon, TN?

A neighborhood of racial minorities within a country with only 4% black population had practically all hazardous facilities and landfills concentrated in the small area. This resulted in detrimental health effects and the poisoning of water. However, the city blatantly provided white families with clean water while black families were assured that the toxic water was not dangerous for consumption.

What is a toxic hotspot?

The concentration of toxic emissions from a pollutant emitter begins to impact the health risk of an exposed population.

Are transportation dollars equal in every neighborhood?

No, public transportation and transportation infrastructure are severely limited in poor or minority communities. This exacerbates the issue as people are purposefully limited access to certain places or jobs. In my town, there is significant controversy over the implementation of toll roads. As the prices for the toll are substantial, people from poor neighborhoods are unable to use them, resulting in constant congested traffic on low-quality roads in that area. Meanwhile, predominantly white neighborhoods located nearby have a quick commute to work downtown. The placement of the toll booths made it seem like it was purposefully limiting the poor neighborhoods since they had to enter the highway at a different location forcing the cars to go through one additional checkpoint.

Do you have nearby access to fresh fruits & veggies in your neighborhood?

Not readily available. One must go to a fresh foods store in the commercial part of town or wait for the farmer’s market to open on the weekend.

What was the problem in New Orleans before Katrina?

It had unequal environmental protection for neighborhoods of racial and ethnic minorities. The city was considered unhealthy due to poor planning and inadequate distribution of resources.

What are your thoughts on the trends that occur with regards to people of color and the environment? What can we do to protect equal rights within an environmental capacity?

These trends are definitively accurate and noticeable without sophisticated analysis. In practically every town, there are neighborhoods that are poor and predominantly consist of minorities that is devastating. An evident lack of public infrastructure, services, and basic living necessities continues to exacerbate the issue through social degradation. Environmental equality can only be established by the strict enforcement of the law. As noted by the speaker, regulations are not followed and conveniently ignored. Meanwhile, low-quality projects are wasting funds that could be dedicated to the improvement and sustainability of low-income communities.

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