Make up blog: Thoughts on Environmental Justice

Environmental justice is a call for the fair treatment
and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national
origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and
enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and politics. As we saw with our
guest speaker in class, even in a nation like the United States which attempts
to pride itself on freedom and equality we find that in the world today
regardless of where you look environmental injustice still prevails in many
situations. I was also in an Environmental law class throughout this semester
and we also briefly discussed environmental justice within this course. In this
class we discussed that in the U.S today there is no major laws or regulations
which help protect environmental justice. Under regulations like NEPA (National
Environmental Protection Act) most development focuses on a subjective assessment
of environmental impact and does not dwell on the potential subjective effects
of this. In the case of the West Virginia Water Crisis, the plant that
experienced chemical storage failure at one time had existed before the United
States more strictly enforced the regulations of plants like these so it was
placed next to a large public water source. Objectively the plant may have been
a good idea when it was made but subjectively no person in their right mind
would want to place a plant holding dangerous chemicals next to a source of
publically used drinking water. In the case of this example when the plant
experienced failure it was the common citizen who felt the most impact of this

Far beyond the United States, in the world today there
are many human populations which are subjected to environmental injustice. In
Bogpol, India for example, which is often noted as part of the golden tringle
of pollution holds many textile and chemical plants which drastically pollute
the area for its unfortunate local citizens. This is but one example of such
tragedies. In the book Perils of
Progress: environmental Disasters of the twentieth Century
author Andrew
Jenks discusses 4 great man made environmental disasters that have taken place.
One being in the previously mentioned Bogpol, another in Japan, one in Russia
and Ginally one in the United States. In the case of all of these tragedies it
was the lower class citizens who were the most detrimentally effected by these
incidents. In a human society where money talks, and development is key it is
easy to see how lower class citizens are more often subject to degraded quality
of living both fiscally as well as environmentally. You would never see a
chemical plant pop in Hollywood Hills. You have to ask yourself though what can
really be done in the world today? Production is not going to just stop and you
cannot just pick up a chemical factory and move it somewhere where it can have
less of a negative impact. As a guest speaker showed through her personal
experience it is off the very citizens themselves who have the most ability to
promote positive change. In the United States at least with the structure of
our political system, people have the ability to make any change they want
happen as long as it has a large enough public backing.


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