What Do Racism and Poverty Have to Do with Pollution and Climate Change?

As an organization, we have always had a systems thinking perspective, and seen justice as an integral part of our sustainability vision. In recent years, it has become even more clear that a successful sustainability movement must reflect the diversity of our communities. That’s why we love this new short video from Grist.org addressing the links between racism, poverty, pollution and climate change. For the full piece, click here. 

We already know that pollution and climate change negatively affect people’s health and quality of life. But we’re not always clear about which people are most exposed and impacted.The harm that comes with rising seas and contaminated water systems isn’t evenly distributed. To the contrary: Those who are already disadvantaged by race, wealth, and income are usually the most affected by environmental disasters. Without recognizing that inequality, we’re not always solving the problems with our water, air, and soil in ways that serve the people who need it most — which is why environmental justice is a critical part of planning a green future that’s good for everyone.

If you’ve never heard the term “environmental justice” before, or if you just want to know more about it, this video is a great place to start.

*Want to dive deeper into systems thinking and environmental justice issues? Check out our Seeing Systems: Peace, Justice and Sustainability discussion course. 

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