The goals of this environmental justice conference are stated simply: firstly, to explore whether racial minorities and the poor are being environmentally victimized, and secondly, to evaluate public policies that promote environmental fairness. Each speaker provided insight and information from their respective area of expertise. Led by keynote speaker Dr. Bunyan Bryant, they drew upon the realms of academic investigation, government and public policy, sociology, healthcare, and philosophy to unite the environmental movement with the quest for social justice. After absorbing so much information concerning the current state of environmental justice, one leaves the conference with an overwhelming sense of responsibility to promote awareness and fairness when dealing with issues of environmental quality.
Dr. Bunyan Bryant of the University of Michigan began by addressing the history, issues, dilemmas, and central premises of the environmental justice movement. Dr. Bryant distinguishes environmental racism, or the targeting of certain communities for undesirable land use, from environmental equity. The movement is characterized by a complexity of cultural norms, rules, regulations, behaviors, values, policies, and decisions. These influences either lead to the promotion of sustainable communities and the realization of high potentials, or contribute to the degradation of environments by impeding communities from enjoying social, political, and environmental health. Dr. Bryant notes the importance of key events, ranging from the effects of the 1990 Michigan Conference to the earlier convergence of the civil rights and environmental movements around the time of the as...
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...s from diverse areas in order to achieve an integrated perspective of the issues, successes, and common goals characterizing the environmental justice movement. The conference was bound together by a common message - the need for education and awareness of issues of environmental quality. Environmental justice corresponds directly to human health and quality of life throughout the world. Regardless of whether or not an environmental hazard exists in one's community or backyard, it is necessary to be informed of the issues that affect us all. The goals of the conference were thus met by clarifying that environmental injustice is indeed occurring, thereby instilling in each participant the need for continued education and involvement in the quest for safe and healthy environments for all. This is the way in which environmental justice will prevail in future societies.
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