With the modern world constantly changing and developing, it can be difficult to raise awareness about the challenges it is facing. Many people around the world know about environmental issues, such as global warming and climate change, but not all of them are aware of environmental racism. Although measures have been taken to mitigate it, they cannot be considered significant or sufficient, and there is still much to be done by federal and international communities to ensure successful work towards environmental justice.
One of the main ways in which the community has attempted to mitigate the issue of environmental racism is by protesting the decisions and measures that had led to these problems. Academic studies and campaigns based on media pressure are among other strategies that ecological justice activists use to raise awareness of the difficulties experienced by vulnerable populations. Grassroots organizations across the country use social media, hold civil disobedience marches and demonstrations to express the concerns and views of the public. Allies from outside the community have also taken part in promoting environmental justice. One example is the European Union, which has funded many projects organized by public activists in recent years, such as Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities, and Trade projects (World Economic Forum, 2020). This initiative is aimed at bringing together scientists and policy-makers from more than 20 countries to identify the strategies that would allow achieving environmental justice for all.
The federal government’s guidance on environmental justice is presented in a number of acts and policies. One example of such project is the Executive Order on “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations.” It entails responsibility for all Federal Agencies to “make achieving environmental justice part of their mission by identifying and addressing disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs” (US Environmental Protection Agency, 2020, par. 3). An example of the policies addressing the issue at the local level is an environmental justice program launched in San Francisco in the early 2000s. By now, this program has received more than “$12 million in grants for local community projects serving environmental justice areas” (Bloomberg CityLab, 2019). The program uses these resources to address a wide range of issues, such as health inequities and air quality.
Beginning ideas that propose intervention currently exist at both individual and systems levels. At the individual level, people are encouraged to use social media and raise awareness of the problem, creating a lasting effect. At the systems level, there are more organizations emerging that promote socially equal conservation policies. Organizations like the National Black Farmers Association, the Indigenous Environmental Network, and Cultural Survival are all non-profit organizations that work hard to solve environmental racism issues. They focus on achieving land retention, a high level of education, and rural economic development for vulnerable communities. However, they still face barriers, which are mostly connected with insufficient support from the governmental agencies.
This allows the conclusion that more changes have to be implemented at the governmental level. It is not enough to only help low-income communities of color fight the consequences of some harmful activities and environmental policies. New environmental laws and strategies have to be introduced by the federal governments and international communities because laws are the most powerful tools to support the fight against environmental racism.
Bloomberg CityLab. (2019). Which cities and states have concrete strategies for environmental justice? Web.
US Environmental Protection Agency. (2020). Environmental justice and National Environmental Policy Act. Web.
World Economic Forum. (2020). What is environmental racism and how can we fight it? Web.