Human Action has triggered a vast cascade of environmental problems that now threaten the continued ability of both natural and human systems to flourish. Solving the critical environmental problems of global warming,water scarcity, pollution, and biodiversity loss are perhaps the greatest challenges facing the 21st century. [Sic Brittanica Encyclopedia] The planet is dear to my heart. Let's rise together and meet them.₄
Sociologydictionary.org defines Environmental Racism₁ as [sic] A type of racism perpetrated by the disproportionate location of environmental hazards near economically and socially disadvantaged areas. Modern examples of this relatively unknown term include but are not limited to for example The Flint Water Crisis, the management of Hurricane Katrina, a 100-mile-long plume of toxic mining sludge flow through the Southern Ute Indian Tribe reservation in the Animas River …. and so many, many more.
Racism has always been prevalent in our lands. Whether it be here, in the United States, in Europe, in Asia …. it is there. Festering. And with the way our leaders have been dealing with it, it is time to address it front and center. Racism is much more than the inevitable bickering, arguing, fighting even about race. It encompasses all. It seeps into the lives of the people it targets. And that is precisely where environmental racism comes into play.
Targeting communities stressed financially, unable to move somewhere else. Classifying and categorizing people into general groups. Communities that are often divided by the proverbial "railroad tracks" that are living within a distance of the looming factories that burn endlessly, producing heavy industrial products or whatever else they are producing. In the end, mostly targeting communities with a median household income that barely reaches $40,000/year.
Environmental racism targets precisely those people through the enabling of policies allowing "slumlords" to not upgrade the premises where actual people live in unhealthy and hazardous conditions; It targets those people forced to breathe in polluted air, brought on by government's ability to run back EPA policies paving the way to clean air. It focuses on those people working hazardous jobs with little or no protection. We need to have this conversation about how to address this inequitable distribution of environmental hazards among the poor and minorities.
Advocates for these communities believe in environmental justice₂, which holds that all people deserve to live in a clean and safe environment free from industrial waste and pollution. It would ensure that all citizens receive from the government the same degree of protection from environmental hazards and that minority and underprivileged populations do not face inequitable ecological burdens. .
Although most environmentalists believe in environmental racism and truly embrace environmental justice, a few of the traditional ones have criticized the movement as an attempt to shift the focus away from important environmental issues toward more-anthropocentric concerns, such as racism, classism, and sexism. Nevertheless, all are bound together.
In February 2018, The Atlantic published a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency finding that people of color are much more likely to live near polluters and breathe polluted air—even as the agency seeks to roll back regulations on pollution. In that same article, an allusion is made to a song of Marvin Gaye "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology). The article explains that Marvin Gaye was not an avid environmentalist, even though his single did provide a stark and useful environmental analysis, [sic] complete with warnings of overcrowding and climate change. While the song doesn’t explicitly mention race, it does portray a black Vietnam veteran, coming back to his segregated community and envisioning the hell that people endure. Gaye’s prophecies relied on the qualitative data of storytelling—of long-circulated anecdotes and warnings within black communities of bad air and water, poison, and cancer. But those warnings have been bolstered by study after study indicating that people of color face disproportionate risks from pollution and those polluting industries are often located in the middle of their communities.₃
I suggest you check out the song. Here are the lyrics :
Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
Ah, mercy, mercy me, Ah, things ain't what they used to be, no, no. Where did all the blue skies go? Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east.
Mercy, mercy me, Ah, things ain't what they used to be, no, no. Oil wasted on the ocean and upon Our seas fish full of mercury,
Oh, mercy, mercy me. Ah, things ain't what they used to be, no, no, no. Radiation underground and in the sky; Animals and birds who live near by are dying.
Oh, mercy, mercy me. Ah, things ain't what they used to be. What about this over crowded land? How much more abuse from man can she stand?
Songwriters: MARVIN GAYE, MARVIN P GAYE© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights ManagementFor non-commercial use only.
I want to end this week's conversation by mentioning Hurricane Dorian and the devastation it has brought with him. We, here in Florida, after a week of evacuations and waiting, were lucky enough to escape its wrath. People on the Bahamian Islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama were not and stating that the storm wreaked havoc would be an understatement. Many people there lost everything. They are awaiting help; they are trying to get off the island; they have nothing left. I am providing you with a link to the news surrounding this disaster. Check it out @ https://www.bing.com/news/search?q=Dorian+And+The+Bahamas&qpvt=dorian+and+the+bahamas&FORM=EWRE and see how you can help. Also be sure to check out the artists work displayed this week. Carl Brandien is a Florida compadre. Both do lovely work. Until next time peoples of the page. Stay Safe! Namaste!
₁ “environmental racism.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 11 Sep. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/environmental-racism/>.
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