Is Your Community Facing Environmental Injustice?
Environmental injustice is a really broad term that applies to all sorts of problems and situations faced by many people. Environmental justice basically means that everyone should have access to a safe, healthy environment, and to environmental resources. This can mean things often considered “environmental”, such as green spaces and clean air, but also other things such as healthy food and warm, secure housing.
Because environmental justice and injustice are such broad terms, people affected can be facing lots of different kinds of situations. For example, homeless people are facing the situation of not having a place to live. This means that their environment is not healthy and safe for them, which means that housing and homelessness is an environmental justice issue. Another example of environmental injustice is communities living close to locations that cause a lot of pollution. Communities living close to airports have to breathe polluted air which makes them ill, and put up with extreme noise pollution. They also may face the threat of airport expansion meaning that they lose their homes.
Environmental (in)justice affects some groups of people more than others. Part of fighting environmental injustice is therefore addressing the social injustices that mean that some groups are better able to protect themselves from environmental problems and have more access to environmental resources. For example, the Environmental Justice movement in the US is mainly made up of communities of colour struggling against the fact that polluting factories are disproportionately located near Black and Hispanic neighbourhoods.
All environmental justice struggles are also about social justice. People with more wealth and power are better able to prevent environmental problems in their area, or to move elsewhere. Some environmental justice struggles are about access to resources such as food and shelter, which is of course a social justice issue.
If you feel that you or your community is facing a situation of environmental injustice and would like support in addressing this, then feel free to get in touch. We exist to support communities in developing an understanding of the environmental injustice situation they are in and working out what to do about it. We are only a small organisation so cannot promise a lot of help straight away, but we would like to hear from you and see how we can provide the support you need.