America Needs Environmental Equity Essay

America Needs Environmental Equity Essay

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Introduction

"...We live in a breakable takeable world, an ever available possible worldÖ" These words, by poet and singer-songwriter Ani Difranco, articulate the relationship between the environment and its inhabitants. Society is constantly manipulating the environment. Our capacity for changing the environment is kept in check by the destructible aspect of nature. The changes we make, those advancements in technology, are limited. While the industrial revolution, per say, is over, industry is ever expanding, moving us into a faster, more efficient lifestyle. However, efficiency and advanced technology are not without their price, and that fee, even more so than monetary in nature, is more accurately quantified by an increased duress on the environment and its inhabitants. As industry expands, waste products increase, and often this waste is toxic to humans, plants, and animals. So-called advancements, such as pesticides, which can greatly increase crop production, may cause chronic health problems. Environmental stressors, such as smelters, chemical plants, incinerators, and landfills all result from efforts to improve the functioning of society, and all have adverse effects on the populations living within proximity of these stressors (Bullard 1994).

The Problem

We have decided as a collective society to further our technology and expand our industries at the cost of a less healthy environment. Because this decision is one that affects all of us, we must be willing to take equal responsibility for the harm done to the environment and to its inhabitants. Unfortunately, white members of the middle and upper socio-economic classes have not accepted the price of advancement, and have instead placed the burdens of ou...


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...onmental Planning and Management. June 1996, Volume 39:2.

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Payne, Henry. "Green Redlining." Reason. October 1998, Volume 30:5.


Bibliography

Boerner, Christopher. "Environmental Injustice." Public Interest. Winter 1995, Issue
118.

Bullard, Robert D. "Overcoming Racism in Environmental Decisionmaking."
Environment. May 1994, Volume 36:4.

Durning, Alan. Action at the Grassroots: fighting poverty and environmental decline.
Worldswatch Institute: Washington D.C., 1989.

"Environmental Racism?" Wilson Quarterly. Spring 1995, Volume 19:2.

Sachs, Aaron. Eco-Justice: linking human rights and the environment. Worldswatch
Insititute: Washington D.C., 1995.

Reilly, William K. "Environmental Equity: EPA's position." EPA Journal. March/April
1992, Volume 18:1.

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