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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Environmental Justice:

Environmental Justice is defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as:

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.

The United States Environmental Justice movement was born out of community based social justice movements including the Civil Rights Movement and the American Indian Movement. Historically, communities of color and Native reservations have been targets for environmentally polluting industries such as incinerators and coal-fired power plants and landfills. Our communities have also faced forced sterilization, medical experimentation and have been denied access to governmental boards that decide urban planning and environmental protection. Greenpeace has created a great short video that explains Environmental Justice. Please watch it below:

Who is hurt first and worst by Climate Change and Environmental Pollution?

Well, let’s first start off by saying: Climate Change is real. https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/5-8/features/nasa-knows/what-is-climate-change-58.html.  Climate Change is causing sea levels to rise, weather patterns to change and the loss of natural habitats. These communities are disproportionately impacted by the effects of Climate Change.

Communities of Color

People of Low-Income

Indigenous Peoples

Formerly Colonized Countries (also known as Developing Countries)

Coastal Communities

However, these communities contributed the least amount of carbon emissions that have created the global climate crisis we are embarking upon.

Infographics via the Center for Global Development

What are the Principles of Environmental Justice? 

In October of 1991, the First National People of Color Summit on Environmental Leadership was held in Washington, DC. During this summit, 17 principles were created that guide the Environmental Justice movement even today.  In 1994 these principles and the work of leadership from around the United States led to the signing of Executive Order 12898 by President Bill Clinton. Executive Order 12898 mandated that federal agencies must consider Environmental Justice. Read the principles here via the Energy Justice Network:  https://www.ejnet.org/ej/principles.html

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