Communities of color throughout the United States have become the dumping grounds for our nation’s waste disposal, as well as home to agricultural and/or manufacturing industries that pollute the land. Government regulations and cultural practices have all contributed to environmental racism. The government’s policies have also negatively impacted low income groups as well as people of color. Environmental justice is dependent on rethinking our environmental policies, and ethical environmental practices. There are many political and public health issues in which environmental racism is a contributing factor.
Many of the readings were interesting, but the most influential for me was “Power, Authority, and Mystery” by Starhawk. She says that the earth is a living being, and she talked about environmental issues being connected with other issues like social justice, international issues, and women’s issues. The poor are the main people who are exposed to harmful chemicals, and they “cannot afford to buy bottled water, organic vegetables or pay for medical care." No matter if we keep harmful chemicals here in the U.S. or export them to other places, we are still harming the earth which means we are harming ourselves. Women die from toxins, become unable to have children, and are expected to care for the sick.
Environmental Racism in Marginalized Communities Environmental racism has been an ongoing issue in the United States. This issue mainly affects communities of color, immigrants, and poor folks who live in urban areas and around public squalors. This creates an unsafe environment for low-income communities and there are hardly any resource to address these environmental destructions. Most poor communities are more than likely to experience pollution than anywhere else because of their social and class status. Due to this, it can determine their breathing and living condition.
If people eat the fish in contaminated water or drink contaminated water will get sick, too. Air contamination is another environmental problem caused by industrialism and progress. Industrial production is the major cause of it. Factories pollute the air with black smoke, which includes dust, oxides of sulfur and of nitrogen. As a result, haze will lay over cities and acid rain destroys trees and corrodes buildings.
According to Brandon Howell of Mlive Michigan news, who discusses the issues of mercury, “Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin that harms growing children and pollutes our environment” (2). Factors like toxins and sewage, pose a threat to the wildlife that depend on the lakes and rivers. Poor water quality could very well possibly be related to poor economic conditions that the state is currently suffering from right now. The quality of water is a major problem in Michigan that should be brought to attention so that citizens can understand the pollution risk factors if they want to contribute to the solution of cleaner water. Currently, the Grand River is experiencing problems with toxic chemicals that continue to kill off fish and other underwater wildlife.
1-3), the Ontario Hydro dams that destroyed part of the wild rice harvest and degraded the habitat of fish and fur animals, as well as the displacement of the community (due to relocation into prefabricated houses where electricity and running water were promised) and the culture shock it created (para. 4). He also discusses the successful blockade in 2002, which is the longest-lasting blockade in Canadian history (para. 28)—an example that shows how employing legal methods were critical in the struggle against environmental injustices for this community. There are a number of other issues that will be discussed in the following paragraphs; the above are just a few of the injustices the Grassy Narrows community face.
Politics and the economy are extreme factors to where and whom environmental injustice effect. Developing countries, such as Egypt, are extremely high in environmental injustice, due to the extreme poverty. The reasons people create and oppose environmental injustice are understandable, yet debatable for both sides. Some feel environmental injustice is growing so prominent that they must find or create ways of preventing it. Of course, the effects of environmental injustice are indeed consequential to the globe.
It results in pollution and contamination of environmental resources, thus making the women and children in these communities not to have access to clean and productive environments. Songsore, has indicated that the outbreak of diseases is one of the problems associated with the improper disposal of waste. Open dumpsites he further states leads to the breading of mosquitoes, rodents and other bugs leading to the spread of diseases especially malaria, cholera and typhoid. Fuseini corroborates this assertion by Songsore by further adding that up to 40% of diseases reported in hospitals in Ghana is directly or indirectly as a result of inefficient waste management in the country. The prevalence of these diseases caused by ‘dirty’ environments does not only affect women and children the most, but, increases the burden of women on their time use scales.
An issue arose in Eastern Canada between 1865 and 1903 in which Peter Gillis focused on the views of certain environmentalists, lumbermen and the government as well as the public’s opinions on the matter throughout the years. Gillis stressed the damage caused by dumping sawdust into rivers and lakes regularly – mainly the Ottawa River. Water-powered sawmills, which were designed to allow waste to drop through the floorboards into the water, caused blocked navigation ways, posed as a health hazard, and threatened wildlife. (84) The controversial issue that Gillis presented was based around the lumbermen’s sole interest in business to maximize profits clashing with environmental concerns of the conservationists. The government had to implement a strategy that would appeal to both sides which would become an important victory for the early environmentalists.
Because of this problems such as, sewage, factory waste, and other wastes over flowed the river, and badly polluted the river. Unfortunately the river was connected to Lake Michigan, the source of water for Chicago residents, drinking wate... ... middle of paper ... ...r and clean out all of the waste that was polluting the city. Meanwhile St. Louis began to worry about Chicago's plans to reverse the river and send its sewage downstream. Both cities had experienced outbreaks of typhoid and other water born diseases. Missouri officials accused Chicagoans of sending their bacteria down the river toward St. Louis.