Environmental Racism

The Non-ethical Practice of Environmental Racism To begin with, a definition of environmental justice is necessary. This may be accomplished quite well by using ôThe Principles of Environmental Justiceö. They contain 17 principles ôdrafted and adoptedö in Washington, D.C. on the 24th through the 27th of October 1991by delegates to the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit. 1) Environmental Justice affirms the sacredness of Mother Earth, ecological unity and the interdependence of all species, and the right to be free from ecological destruction. 2) Environmental Justice demands that public policy be based on mutual respect and justice for all peoples, free from any form of discrimination or bias. 3) Environmental Justice mandates the right to ethical, balanced and responsible uses of land and renewable resources in the interest of a sustainable planet for humans and other living things. 4) Environmental Justice calls for universal protection from nuclear testing, extraction, production and disposal of toxic/hazardous wastes and poisons and nuclear testing that threaten the fundamental right to clean air, land, water, and food. 5) Environmental Justice affirms the fundamental right to political, economic, cultural and environmental self-determination of all peoples. 6) Environmental Justice demands the cessation of the production of all toxins, hazardous wastes, and radioactive materials, and that all past and current producers be held strictly accountable to the people for detoxification and the containment at the point of production. 7) Environmental Justice demands the right to participate as equal partners at every level of decision-making, including needs assessment, planning, implementation, enforcement and evaluation. 8) Environmental Justice affirms the right of all workers to a safe and healthy work environment without being forced to choose between an unsafe livelihood and unemployment. It also affirms the right of those who work at home to be free from environmental hazards. 9) Environmental Justice protects the right of victims of environmental injustice to receive full compensation and reparations for damages as well as quality health care. 10) Environmental Justice considers governmental acts of environmental injustice a violation of international law, the Universal Declaration On Human Rights, and the United Nations Convention on Genocide. 11) Environmental Justice must recognize a special legal and natural relationship of Native Peoples to the U.S. government through treaties, agreements, compacts, and covenants affirming sovereignty and self-determination. 12) Environmental Justice affirms the need for urban and rural ecological policies to clean up and rebuild our cities and rural areas in balance with nature, honoring the cultural integrity of all our communities, and provided fair access for all to the full range of resources. 13) Environmental Justice calls for the strict enforcement of principles of informed consent, and a halt to the testing of experimental reproductive and medical procedures and vaccination on people of color. 14) Environmental Justice opposes the destructive operations of multi-national corporations. 15) Environmental Justice opposes military occupation, repression and exploitation of lands, peoples and cultures, and other life forms. 16) Environmental Justice calls for the education of present and future generations which emphasizes social and environmental issues, based on our experience and an appreciation of our diverse cultural perspectives. 17) Environmental Justice requires that we, as individuals, make personal and consumer choices to consume as little of Mother Earth\'s resources and to produce as little waste as possible; and make the conscious decision to challenge and reprioritize our lifestyles to insure the health of the natural world for present and future generations. (WOEJ) Environmental racism is the social injustice represented by the disproportionately large number of health and environmental risks cast upon peoples of color in the communities in which they live. These minorities are the most common victims of toxic waste. Environ- mental racism is now well documented in America\'s communities. From Baton Rouge\'s Cancer Alley to South Central Los Angeles millions of Americans live in housing and physical environments that are over burdened with environmental problems and other pollution related illnesses. Grassroots multiracial organizations have sprung up to initiate lawsuits and fight the polluters. Should anyone care about racism? On one level, working for systemic change, groups need allies. On another level, the philosophy that allows racism is similar, if not the same, as the philosophy that allows humans to separate themselves from nature. Both of these explanations are important, interesting