Environmental Justice 499: Why It Matters to You

Environmental Justice 499: Why It Matters to You

Welcome back!

If you have followed my environmental blogs for the past couple of months, you will know we have been talking about Environmental Justice.  If you’re new and this is your first Environmental Justice blog STOP! GO BACK!  You are missing out!  Click here to find the previous blogs.  For those who have stuck with me during this discussion, think of this as a capstone; a finale to Environmental Justice (hence the 499…horrible joke).  Now, this does not mean all four blogs can tell you everything.  Heck, scholars and activists have studied this problem for the past 50 years, and there is still so much more to know and understand.  However, it is the conclusion for our Environmental Justice discussion, for now.  We may venture into grad school one day…Environmental Justice 600, 700, 800?

This month I want to bring it home by talking about why Environmental Justice matters to you.  Everyone is affected by an unhealthy environment; some populations just get it worse than others.  I could go on for hours on this subject, but for the sake of keeping it to the point I will limit its discussion to climate change.

Climate Change

Climate Change is the mother of all environmental issues.  It is the historical product of environmental dislocation.  In other words, it is the manifestation of all our problems.  Maybe I should write a blog on climate change?  For now, climate change poses challenges for everyone because, simply, it will affect….EVERYONE! What does this mean in respect to Environmental Justice? Well, everything.  First, marginalized populations are and will experience the effects of climate change worse.  Second, these populations host the stressors that is causing climate change.  Take coal mining for example.  Right now, Appalachians host this stressor and it is a huge contributor to climate change.  This will impact you.  How, you ask?

  • Shortage of clean water
  • Increase of allergies
  • Flooding
  • Less snow
  • Sea level rise
  • Less rain
  • Food shortages
  • Harsher weather
  • Wildfires
  • Increase of health problems
  • Less global ice

These problems will only get worse. Alongside the impacts of climate change, environmental justice matters to you because it is an ethical issue.  It is wrong.  Folks like Martin County do not deserve cloudy, brown, smelly water.  No one does.  How many of you remember NIMBY (‘not in my backyard) from the first blog? I once read an EJ researcher say, BANANA.  BANANA stands for “build absolutely nothing, anywhere, near anybody”.  Shouldn’t that be the goal?

Let’s all BANANA!

Come back to next month where I will be talking about environmental policy in Kentucky.

Until next time,

Adam

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