We work with sustainable companies around the globe and we believe environmental justice is pivotal in addressing environmental issues. When you think of the air you breathe and the clear and blue skies you see, you might think those things are all equal for everyone. However, your socioeconomic status determines the type of environment you live in.
According to the EPA, environmental justice is the fair treatment of people with respect to the development of environmental laws, regulations, and policies regardless of race, color, national origin, or income.
A part of environmental justice is environmental racism which is racial inequalities that come with environmental outcomes such as the way policies are made or how toxic wastes and pollutants are handled. Environmental racism is the reason we need environmental justice.
We witness environmental justice more than we think. Think of how low-income communities in the U.S have to face the effects of air pollution or when neighborhoods with a majority of Black residents have to deal with toxins being dumped footsteps away from their houses. In Hawaii, The U.S Navy Red Hill's community has been affected by the 14,000 gallons of fuel in their water, causing many residents to have unsafe drinking water all the way from Halawa to Hawaii Kai. The Sierra Club of Hawaii is one of the organizations working to shut down the Red Hill facility and stop environmental justice issues. The Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps is another great organization working to give back to the aina and inspiring communities to make a meaningful impact through community service.
In order to incorporate environmental justice into your environmental business, identify environmental justice issues that you feel are important to your business and evaluate how you might be causing environmental impacts. Give information on how your sustainable business is taking action on environmental justice and educate your customers on the topic. Take a stand for issues, whether it's environmental or other social movements like BLM or LGBTQ+ pride, let your audience know you support these problems, and encourage your customers to do so as well.
An example of an environmental business working to tackle an environmental justice issue is Genusee eyewear. They are located in Flint, Michigan, and make their sunglasses from recycled water bottles that come from the Flint Water Crisis, one of the worst public health crises. Over 20 million water bottles were used a day to meet people's needs and according to the Guardian, over 10,000 people were affected in which more than half were African-Americans. Genusee stands for giving back to the community to those affected, as well as reducing plastic waste.
These are just a few examples of the many instances of environmental inequality occurring around the globe. We need to fight for environmental justice in order to protect our Earth and the resources that it provides. We can’t leave anybody out when fighting to protect our Earth.
Recent Update in the news
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is a bill that is planned to dedicate almost $370 billion to climate change issues and energy spending. More than $60 billion of that is saved for projects that tackle environmental justice and reduce environmental and health inequalities among communities. This is great news however, some environmental justice advocates have recently been skeptical of the bill, according to Insider News.
Some of the provisions in the bill might hurt vulnerable communities.
These provisions include opening up more land for oil and gas drilling, big investments in carbon capture technologies, and the building of clean hydrogen hubs. This will further the development of pipelines, gas fired power plants which will disproportionately affect low income residents to a greater extent. These communities, according to research, have benefited the LEAST from environmental regulations and more building of fossil fuel infrastructure will hurt these communities. The question remains whether environmental justice advocates objections to the bill will derail it.