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Environmental Justice

1991For people of color, environmental issues are not just a matter of preserving ancient forests or defending whales. While the importance of saving endangered species is recognized, it is also clear that adults and children living in communities of color are endangered species, too. Environmental issues are immediate survival issues... [I]f there is to be a partnership made with the environmental movement, it must be based on equity, mutual respect, and justice. The environmental justice movement of people of color rejects a partnership based on paternalism. —Dana Alston  (“The Summit: Transforming a Movement”)

2010The environmental justice frame and the intellectual work that that movement did revealed how racism can work as a system even if the individuals within it are not consciously racist. Even if Union Carbide doesn’t have consciously racist executives deciding—“We're going to make sure every community we target is a community of color because we just hate them”—the activities of Union Carbide have that impact, have the result of not just disproportionately creating health problems and poverty for people of color but actively exploiting those communities so that money can be made by someone else. —Rinku Sen (“Organizing for Racial Justice”)

The 20th Anniversary Issue | Vol. 17, No. 1 | Spring 2010 | Credits

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