The US Department of Energy defines environmental justice as fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people with respect to development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Increasingly, individuals and businesses are realizing that decisions they are making have a consequence that more largely affects vulnerable populations, through increased presence of pollutants and contaminants, or other unsafe environmental elements.
What can be done to support environmental justice:
- Litigation challenging polluters and policies
- Strengthening existing legislation
- Community organizing
- Public education
- Elevating voices of those directly affected
In 1991, a summit was held and 17 core principles of environmental justice were developed. They currently act as guidelines for the environmental justice movement and can be read in its entirety here.
Environmental justice activism can take many forms, including:
- Climate change and renewable energy
- Supporting and protecting wildlife
- Supporting sustainable lifestyles and business
- Human health and rights
- The environment and sustainable farming
- Environmental law, policy, education, and advocacy
- Generation of environmental research
National Resources Defense Council
NRDC works to safeguard the earth—its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends. They combine the power of more than three million members and online activists with the expertise of some 600 scientists, lawyers, and policy advocates across the globe to ensure the rights of all people to the air, the water, and the wild.
The Sierra Club is a nonprofit whose mission is to discuss and explore the linkages between environmental quality and social justice, and to promote dialogue, increased understanding, and appropriate action.
Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA’s mission is to protect human health and the environment. In addition to their current website, its noteworthy to point out their archived website which includes information that may be useful, such as background documents to supplement current information or to provide historical perspective on the topic. You can access the EPA web archive here.
Liberty Hill Foundation
For Liberty Hill, environmental justice is a cornerstone of social justice. They currently have three programs in place to fight for a safer, healthier, greener Los Angeles including Stand Together Against Neighborhood Drilling, a coalition of community organizations on the frontlines of ending oil drilling in residential neighborhoods, a groundbreaking environmental justice policy known as Clean Up Green Up, and assuring that Los Angeles’ most disadvantaged communities are at the forefront of California’s efforts to address global warming.
Sign up here to receive the highlights from the Starfish Impact blog in your inbox.