The book, “A Sustainable Future Readings”, discussed the importance of sustainability and how we can incorporate sustainable values and practices into our lives. I was assigned the topic; environmental racism. Institutional racism influences local and land use, enforcement of environmental regulations, industrial facility siting, and the locations in which people of color live, work, and play. Discrimination is a product of institutional racism and results in life being extremely different for whites vs blacks, whether you recognize it or not. Environmental racism is just as real and relevant as discriminatory, social racism. This refers to any policy, practice, or law that affects individuals, groups, or communities based on race or color. Most of these policies are in favor of people who are white or higher class.
Racism influences the likelihood of exposure to environmental and health risks as well as of less access to. health care, medical attention, and affordable health insurance. Many U.S. environmental policies do not evenly distribute the costs in a regressive pattern and provide disproportionate benefits for whites and individuals at the upper class of education and income. For instance, Lead poisoning is a prime example of an environmental health problem that disproportionately affects African American children at every class level. “Lead affects between 3 and 4 million children in the United States—most of whom are African Americans and Latinos who live in urban areas… children among five years old and younger, the percentage of African American children who have excessive levels of lead in their blood far exceeds that of whites at all income levels” (Jackson, et.al., pg 18). People of color are likely more exposed to hazardous waste and toxic water. When you see third world countries, people are living In the waste products of America. We tend to discard our trash without knowing where it really goes. There is a racial divide in the way the U.S. government cleans up toxic waste sites and punishes pol-luters. In White communities, you see faster action, better results, and stricter penalties compared to communities where people of color reside. This unequal protection often occurs whether the community is wealthy or poor. If you go to predominate black neighborhoods in Fort Myers, you see this to be very evident too. Unequal protection is placing communities of color at special risk, and that is shown throughout life, in every country.
The other teams discussed topics like human population myths, and biological diversity, which were two topics that I found interesting. There is a strong link between global warming and wealth, expressed by George Monbiot. “Gas flaring by companies exporting oil from Nigeria, for example, has produced more greenhouse gases than all other sources in sub-Saharan Africa put together. Even deforestation in poor countries is driven mostly by commercial operations delivering timber, meat, and animal feed to rich consumers. The rural poor do far less harm (Monbiot, pg. 104). He also noted how wealthy people assume that global warming is a product of low-income countries with high populations. However, that is not the case; poor countries produce far fewer emissions than advanced countries.