Posted: Monday, December 31, 2012 2:32:43 AM
Be The Change: Helping Stop Environmental Racism
It is heartbreaking to see that in this modern times with the wide range of diversity of human beings, people are still been treated differently because of their race, religious faith, nationality and the like. There have been instances a many in life where environmental racism behavior is like drinking a glass of water. It is so common.
Historically, environmental racism is tied to the environmental justice movement that took place in the70’s and 80’s in the United States. There is much discourse on environmental racism in the United States and while many of its cases are documented in great detail, focus on cases from other countries is important to have and should be highlighted as well.
Studies have shown that not all individuals are equally exposed or protected from pollution. They are either under protected or over protected. For example, worldwide toxic-waste sites are more prevalent in poorer communities. In the world we live today the single most important factor in predicting the location of hazardous-waste sites in the 196 countries, is the ethnic composition of a neighborhood. Three of the five largest commercial hazardous-waste landfills in America are in predominantly black or Hispanic neighborhoods, and three out of every five black or Hispanic Americans live in the vicinity of an uncontrolled toxic-waste site. It is looking at situations like this that I begin to ask such questions as; “are we really as civilized as we claim? Are we modern? How can such things happen?”
The wealth of a community is not nearly as good a predictor of hazardous-waste locations as the ethnic background of the residents, suggesting that the selection of sites for hazardous-waste disposal involves racism.
Bringing to light a very heart felting memory; I met this little girl who was very sick because of the high concentration of lead in her blood due to the release of poisonous substances from hazardous-waste in her community. I could feel her pain, how she must have felt when she couldn’t keep up with her classmates’ any longer. I felt so sorry for her and promised to do my best to prevent it from happening to other people, especially children because I’m more of a children person.
I have been asking myself how such an innocent soul has to pay for the crime of a world she barely knows and so have started speaking about it with my friends at school. Hopefully in 2013, with the help of my family and friends I will reach out to more people and create awareness of this cancer called environmental racism which seems to be invincible. I will write articles for publications in newspapers, try to design posters (I’m a terrible designer), and if possible form a group and hold functions. A step at a time I will try my best to reduce if not stop environmental racism.
Nana Ayisha Yakubu,
30th December 2012.