Defining Environmental Injustice

Introduction to Environmental Injustice. Play video till 1:15 Video Credit: YouTube Allison Dormanesh

Defining Environmental Injustice: According the Environmental Protection Agency, environmental injustice is defined as “the unfair treatment and lack of meaningful involvement of all people regarding race, color, national origin or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies”.[1] Moreover environmental injustice can be characterized as the lack of equitable distribution of environmental goods [clean air and clean water] and environmental bads [pollution and waste].[2]  Therefore environmental injustice creates a condition in which unhealthful and dangerous conditions are correlated to specific groups, in this case minorities.

There are many different, yet equally imperative forms of environmental injustice that are occurring every day throughout the world. However, this website will primarily focus on the correlation between hazardous waste sites [landfills, incinerators, and toxic chemical dumps] with minority communities [African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans] in the United States of America.

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Concentration of Hazardous Waste Sites in Primarily Minority Communities Photo credit: http://green.apa1906.net/page12103135.aspx

Environmental Injustice in the United States: Throughout history, particularly in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s there has been continuous research on the distribution of environmental hazardous waste sites.[3] Researchers have concluded that these hazards are “inequitably distributed by income or race”. [4] Moreover race was the better indicator of environmental hazards.[5] In 1987 the United Church of Christ’s Commission for Racial Justice (CRJ), conducted a study titled Toxic Waste and Race in the United States.[6] The study measured the demographic patterns of commercial hazardous waste sites.[7]  The Study revealed that race was the most important variable in determining the location of hazardous waste sites.[8] In other words, communities with the greatest number of nonwhite residents had the most hazardous waste facilities. Below you will find data collected by the CRJ.

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Data collected from the 1987 study, Toxic Waste and Race in the United States by the United Church of Christ’s Commission for Racial Justice (CRJ)

Importance: These hazardous waste sites result in large amounts of both air and water pollution, that cause significant health effects. Therefore minority communities live in areas that are most harmful to their health and livelihood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] “Environmental Justice”, Environmental Protection Agency, accessed December 5th, 2014, http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/

[2] “Environmental Justice” Environmental Protection Agency, accessed December 5th 2014, http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/

[3] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 54-55.

[4] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 54-55.

[5] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 54-55.

[6] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 54-55

[7] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 54-55.

[8] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 54-55.

 

 

 

1 Response to Defining Environmental Injustice

  1. Pingback: Environmental Injustice by Jessica Minderjahn | Environmental Humanities at Bucknell University

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