top of page

Environmental Justice: Looking Back and Moving Forward

By Rachel Isaacs

When striving to combat the augmenting climate issues our planet is facing, it is imperative we take an introspective look at not only the natural environment but also the populations most impacted. There is a vital intersection between the health of the planet and the health of the people, and, unfortunately, there are often populations that are disproportionately subject to the risks of environmental degradation and global climate change.

Ironbound residents march up Ferry St. June 1, 1984, in opposition to the construction of a huge garbage incinerator in the neighborhood which would have emitted dioxin and other toxic chemicals. Photo credit: Ironbound Community Corporation

The environmental justice movement gained national momentum in the 1980s, in response to 40,000 cubic yards of soil contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals in a poor Black farming community in Warren County, North Carolina (Fears & Denis, 2021). Protests erupted in response to this injustice and sparked awareness for the community and their mistreatment, as pictured on the left. However, this was not an isolated event, instances such as this had been occurring for decades as a result of the systematically racist municipality planning process called redlining. This process essentially deemed Black and Latino neighborhoods as “undesirable” and therefore, unworthy of housing loans, which subsequently made it increasingly easy for heavy industry to amass in these areas. Consequently, toxins and other environmental hazards disproportionately impact these communities and persist today. These historical injustices can be directly linked to what is called environmental racism, which has been guided by governmental, legal, economic, and political institutions throughout our country's history. As detailed in the piece, “This is environmental racism “, Black people are nearly four times as likely to die from exposure to pollution than White people and are exposed to 38 percent more polluted air than White Americans, and they are 75 percent more likely to live in communities that border a plant or factory” (Fears & Dennis, 2021). While these are disconcerting statistics, in the past few decades, there has been a significant increase in awareness. Today, people continue to join the fight to end environmental racism as well as ensure environmental justice moving forward.

According to the EPA, environmental justice, as defined today, seeks to mend historical inequities and ensure the “fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies” (EPA). While these tasks may seem daunting, there are plenty of small things you can do to participate in this mission, many of which begin with the practice of self-education. Learning more about this issue and its implications is an important step in combating the systemic causes of injustice. Using this knowledge, you can then adequately support impacted communities by helping to elevate their voices and provide a wider platform for them to be heard.

To learn more about the steps you can take, you can visit these websites!



Darryl Fears, B. D. (2021, April 6). This is Environmental Racism. The Washington Post. Retrieved, from

Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Environmental Justice. EPA. Retrieved from


Unknown member
May 11, 2023

A healthy lawn offers a multitude of benefits that extend beyond just its aesthetic appeal. From improving air and water quality The Slient News to supporting biodiversity and enhancing recreational opportunities, a well-maintained lawn can provide numerous environmental, social, and economic benefits. Whether you're a homeowner or a business owner, investing in a healthy lawn is a smart choice that can pay dividends in both the short and long term.


Unknown member
May 09, 2023

Spotiflyer is a valuable tool that can greatly enhance the user experience for Spotify users. Its ability to download high-quality content, ease of use, and spotiflyer apk customization options make it a must-have for anyone who wants to enjoy their favorite music and podcasts offline. However, users must be aware of the potential risks associated with using third-party software and must ensure that they use the software in a responsible and legal manner.


Unknown member
Apr 30, 2023

Vehicle chargers are the best arrangement suppliers, particularly while voyaging. Don't bother hanging tight for charging stations or power banks. No stresses over the utilization of mobiles during trips. Vehicle chargers are profoundly famous Buy Mobile Chargers Online in India among the people who have vehicles. These can be effortlessly utilized in vehicles' connectors and can charge Mobiles. Brands like Conekt verve, PowerUp Small scale, PowerUp Quick Drive, Speedy drive, Brilliant Drive, USB type C are accessible.


Unknown member
Apr 20, 2023

B2B lead generation is a method B2B marketers use to drive prospective customers to its organization organically. This lead generation service provider consists of various inbound marketing tactics that build visibility, awareness, and interest from prospects within a specific target audience.

bottom of page