To effectively fight against environmental racism, the U.S. government must work to protect BIPOC neighborhoods from the racial discrimination that puts them in danger of pollution and its negative effects.

By Sophie Hirsh, Green Matters

No one on Earth is safe from the effects of the climate crisis — but many are impacted by it much more than others. The truth is, climate change unfairly targets people of color, highlighting how the climate crisis and racial injustice are inextricably linked. All of this falls under the umbrella of environmental racism — but what is environmental racism, exactly?

The federal government has just made a disappointing declaration in regards to fighting for environmental justice, announcing that it will no longer consider race as a factor. Read on for a look into this news, and to learn about the basics of environmental racism.

climate justice is racial justice banner held by climate activists

What is environmental racism?

Dr. Robert Bullard, known as the “father of environmental justice,” defines environmental racism in his book Dumping in Dixie as “any policy, practice or directive that differentially affects or disadvantages (where intended or unintended) individuals, groups, or communities based on race,” as reported by the UNM Newsroom.

Essentially, environmental racism refers to the ways environmental issues disproportionately affect people of color, BIPOC communities. And this is never accidental, but rather systemic, as governments, corporations, industries, and people in power enact policies and build hazardous infrastructure in communities of color. In fact, according to the NAACP, the top factor for toxic facility locations in the U.S. is race.



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