Environmental Justice

By Sasha G.

Do people have an equal right to living in a space with clean air and water? The idea of environmental human rights is an interesting one. Local government policy often allows for zoning that permits concentration of industry which considerably degrades nearby neighborhood air and water quality. In cities which have lost money, should city revenues be used for services to attract out-of-towners or should they serve the direct interests of the local community? The work of Majora Carter concentrates on these issues. In her 2006 TED talk, “Greenin The Ghetto,” she packs twenty minutes with tons of information. Her story focuses on the South Bronx and a project she led to transform unused land into green space. Her video touches on widely spread American issues such as disinvestment, misuse of city funds, zoning, and balancing developer interests. She embraces capitalism in her grassroots proposal for a plan to create a nation wide policy agenda that would take into account the concept of environmental justice and equality.

Majora Carter’s talk is a greta starting point for seeing environmental justice issues at the local level. The following Washington Post article is a Q&A with a man named Desmond D’Sa. He discusses environmental injustice in South Africa.

Environmental justice is a global human rights issue that should be at the top of political agendas.

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