The environment (online writings)

Why is it so important to talk about race and class when talking about the environment and environmental problems?  Why do you think media, environmental activists and others have failed to look at the differential impact of environmental issues. How one must be color conscious in addressing environment problems?

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34 thoughts on “The environment (online writings)

  1. Most would not think about how race/class effects environment, I know I didn’t. I decided to research online about more information on this topic and I stumbled upon a great article by United States Department of Agriculture. In their article (which can be found online at http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/gtr534.pdf) stated:

    “Historical data show that while some middle class whites fled the cities and their urban ills to focus attention on outdoor explorations, wilderness and wildlife issues, some of their social contemporaries stayed in the cities to develop urban parks and help improve urban environmental conditions. Though there were conflicts between white middle and working class activists over the use of open space, the white working class collaborated with white middle-class urban environmental activists to improve public health and worker health and safety, whereas, people of color, driven off their land, corralled onto reservations, enslaved, and used as low-wage laborers, developed activist agendas and environmental discourses that linked racism and oppression to worker health and safety issues, limited access to resources, loss of or denial of land ownership, and infringement on human rights.”

    I found this surprising to be said by the United States Department of Agriculture because I was not aware that they were aware of the issue. After more researching and notes from lecture, it appears that people of color tend to be ‘shoved’ into poor environmental areas. I feel that this isn’t just about people of color though. Many poor whites that are living in poverty are forced to live near landfills and areas that are not well kept. This can lead to health problems that will only result in more negative effects on citizens of color and people in poverty.

    I feel that people of color and other people in poverty such as whites need to realize that they are getting inhumane treatment. We can’t just force people with little money to live in conditions that are unsuitable for their health and the health of their families. The problem that I see with it is that most don’t realize that the places they live in are the way they are because of racism and stereotyping. No one should have to live in an area that is not being properly maintained because of their class or skin color.

  2. I did a little research on my own too. What I found was that race is relevant when talking about environmental problems. Often times income level is the most important factor, but income is also tied to race. Minorities who live in poorer areas are more at risk of exposure to harmful substances. The jobs they have may be more environmentally dangerous than say, an accountant sitting at a desk. (i.e. a farmer). In U.S. history back in high school we learned about urban ghettos where people of the same minority congregate. These places were often run down, and very unhealthy places to live with little access to clean air, green fields, and parks. Even in the video we watched about the community garden, there was a debate over what to do with the land! Should it be used for a soccer field, storage space, or kept as a garden? Each has its own impact on the environment. People in inner cities are much more likely to experience pollution. This means not only are environmental problems tied to race, but also to income and class. In my opinion it is very important to be color conscious when discussing environmental issues. For example, Native Americans were not only pushed off their land during colonization, but they were also removed from their land during the creation of national parks. Native Americans put a great deal of value in mother nature, so it is important to be color conscious in this regard.

  3. I think the different points that have been brought up are very interesting. I did not think that race and class was something that needed to be addressed when talking about the environment and the different problems. However, after reading some of the findings I find myself understanding why it is such a big aspect to the discussion. Many people of color or in lower class neighborhood do not have the financial assets and opportunities, they also work jobs that are more dangerous and involve working outdoors in the environment. I went to Burlington, WA one summer and saw many migrant workers who came here from Mexico. They lived in small very run down houses. Many times 5-8 people lived in one room. I asked them about working there and they expressed many things about how dangerous the work can be and how much environmental factors did impact their work. Many people who are middle to upper class do not work these jobs. They have an office job where the only time they are impacted by environmental issues is outside of when they are working and making a living. Also, the individuals in “The Garden” video rely on the environment for food which many people in lower classes do. I think the media tends to separate the two topics because it does not seem that the two directly impact each other. We as a total population impact the environment but we tend to disregard how the environment can impact us and people who are working those lower paying jobs that are outside directly in the environment. They are not two topics that seem to directly affect each other. One must understand that many people in the lower classes are people of color and are working the jobs that are impacted by the environment

  4. Environmental racism is:
    “Racial discrimination in environmental policy making and the unequal enforcement of the environmental laws and regulations. It is the deliberate targeting of people of color communities for toxic waste facilities and the official sanctioning of a life threatening presence of poisons and pollutants in people of color of excluding people of color from leadership in the environmental movement.” Dr. Benjamin Chavis

    I honestly didn’t really think that where you live was where most machinery were placed, like that movie we watched in class, it showed Mexicans trying to only defend their garden because that was apart of their town, it was sad to watch when they bulldozed it.

    Also, reading the other posts, that is really sad that the white working class can just shove people of color out of their property! Just for open space and improving public health doesn’t mean families get pushed out of their homes. You should work together not against other races.

    I also think the media doesn’t want to show this problem or shed some light on things like that happening, yet they can go around and talk about trees getting cut down but not families being forced out of their homes just because of their race. People that have a higher income usually get the bigger homes in higher priced homes, so you wouldn’t think they know about what is happening.

    ” Minority and low income communities are disproportionately burdened by environmentally decretory practices.” V

    http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/local/scisoc/environment/seniorsem03/finalenvironmental_racism.pdf

  5. When talking about the environment and environmental problems it is important to bring up race and class because different races and classes are affected by their environment differently. We all know that a disproportionate amount of minorities live below the poverty line and this has an affect on their environment. When someone can’t afford to live in areas with lots of green space, access to healthy food and lower crime rates they are forced to live somewhere that has a lower real estate value. These areas are more likely to be places were city dumps and other undesirables are placed. With the real estate value being low it is also more likely to be developed or bought by government or corporations. This can lead to the displacement of those who live in these areas, primarily minorities. When environmental legislation is being brought through it needs to consider how it will further affect the people living in these areas, not only their race but also the effect on their health and jobs. When legislation is being discussed the earths environment should not be the only one to be discussed, but also the environment of the people it will affect.

  6. Why is it so important to talk about race and class when talking about the environment and environmental problems? Why do you think media, environmental activists and others have failed to look at the differential impact of environmental issues. How one must be color conscious in addressing environment problems?

    Inequalities can at first seem to be a simple problem with money and affect mainly this area of one’s life. However, every aspect of their life is affected by being lower class, which is predominately filled with people of color. In our sociology of education class we discuss how people of color are in schools of concentrated poverty with buildings that are falling down and condemned. These buildings may have poor ventilation, made of products that are now dangerous to be breathing, or have no outdoor space for fresh air and play. Trash disposals are often placed in areas of concentrated poverty. If a person is over lower class, most likely has completed little education, they don’t know about their ability to fight against these constructions, or have the money to hire appropriate lawyers etc. Also, they are probably less educated about poor air, ventilation needs, and healthy environments.
    I think that it is natural for many of us to overlook race or not even take it into consideration, first because many people aren’t even exposed to many races. Or people think that people of color aren’t as important because that is what they have seen for many years in our history as they are pushed to other areas and moved to where it is “convenient.”
    We must start realizing that people of lower classes are receiving poorer conditions when it comes to their environment and it is necessary to change this trend.

  7. It is important we talk about race and its effect on the environment because it is everywhere, however people often miss it because much of its effect is not necessarily direct. For example if you are born white you are automatically at an advantage with finding a job, getting a good education and much more. By putting one race at an advantage creates tension between races so when the two different races come face to face, there is sometimes a awkward tension. I think the media has failed to put races effect on the environment because it is a touchy subject and people are afraid they might say the wrong thing. Another way race has an effect on the environment is due to how it creates poverty. If there is a bunch of people that get sick but they have no money to cure there sickness, then they will just end up spreading the sickness.

  8. Race and class tie into environmental problems because usually people with a lower income or people that are minorities are employed by jobs that are not necessarily the safest for their health. When compared with an upper class job that someone with multiple degrees might get, the high class employee is treated with more respect than someone working for example at a grocery store or a restaurant. In many situations people are not allowed a paid sick leave and also have to work in very bad and dangerous environments. Because these people do not make very much money, they are forced to live in areas that are also bad for their health. This is a problem that I believe we need to change. The conditions are only getting worse and it is taking a toll on many people.

  9. Race and class tie into environmental problems because usually people with a lower income or people that are minorities are employed by jobs that are not necessarily the safest for their health. When compared with an upper class job that someone with multiple degrees might get, the high class employee is treated with more respect than someone working for example at a grocery store or a restaurant. In many situations people are not allowed a paid sick leave and also have to work in very bad and dangerous environments. Because these people do not make very much money, they are forced to live in areas that are also bad for their health. This is a problem that I believe we need to change. The conditions are only getting worse and it is taking a toll on many people.

  10. The environment plays a huge role on people, especially people who live in low income areas. These low income areas are more likely to live in a food desert, a place where trying to find fresh produce is a struggle. People who live in these areas are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases and live in poor health. The reason many activists and forms of media have shied away from this topic is because the majority of people living in these areas are either black, Latino or a minority. This means that the majority of white America has no idea this is happening, so many news cites don’t find the need to report about it. But just like you cant be colorblind when looking at racism you cant just turn a blind eye to the color of the people who seems to be living in poor health. This means when we address these environmental options and problems we need to find a solution that can both solve the problem but also be something we can do in the inner cities, where most of the problems with hunger and poor food conditions seems to come.

  11. It is important to talk about race and class when talking about the environment and environmental problems because race is something that always has an issue when it comes down to money. When it comes down to the environment and its problems, race has a big impact on it through its racial diversity of income and health. Even though it may seem like race would not impact the environment and its issues, it has a big impact on peoples social status and it impacts their environment health eventually. Because whites are more likely to get picked for certain jobs or set on a different economical status at times, it gives an advantage that other races do not have. because of theses reasons, race and class has an impact on the environmental problems we don’t see with our eyes.

  12. It is important to think about race and class when talking about the environment and environmental problems. People are treated or seen differently depend on their race and class anywhere. In my sociology class, I learned dominant group, white people, do not want to treat equally to minority people such as African American, Hispanic, Latino, and Asian. That is because they want to keep their power in the U.S. If they treat all people equally, white people will lose their power to be superior all the time. So, they are not so motivated to care about race differences and the environment compare to minority people. However, it is unfair that white people are superior than other people. To make the society more equally, they should start think about equality. They do not notice that other people are treated differently, because they have no problem in their environment. As long as majority white people try to fix the environment, it is hard to fix it for other people.
    Media and environmental activists and other have failed to look at the differential impact of environmental issues, because they still think about majority people first. They should cancentrate on other people to look at ,differential impact of environmental issues. That is the thing what they have to look at. They should look at everybody, not only majority people.

  13. Race and the environment are more connected than most people realize. There is thing called environmental racism, which refers to the relationship between race and geography which can also be interpreted as the relationship between environmental degradation and low-income or minority communities. People with low-income or living in a low-income are are primarily people minorities. One example of the environment being connected to race are food deserts. Food deserts are pretty much only in low-income areas. Also in these low-income areas there are more schools with asbestos, they live in homes with lead paint that peels, and play in contaminated parks. So the fact that minorities live in low-income areas, and the fact that these low-income areas have certain environmental issues proves that race and the environment are connected.

  14. The environment is important when talking about race because it does in fact show that it makes an impact on race and environmental problems. I’ll be honest I had no idea that environment was even an issue when discussing race but after thinking over some past studies I’ve went over as well as personal experiences, it makes sense on why the two can intertwine. A good example that could explain how both are related is that those who are of color are more depicted to be in much less developed areas, when people picture an African American, some stereotypes that would come to mind is that they are from low income areas or in more socially correct terms “The Ghetto,” this low income areas are in poor conditions and are concerns for health issues.

    However it isn’t just African Americans that could be considered to be in poor living areas, other races such as Native and Latin Americans could be depicted and even do live in poor environments. Native Americans are a good example because they were forced out of their land so that it could be used in order to create national parks which then forced Indians into areas of even more danger, Latin Americans are another good example because of their work environment, from the film in class there was no idea what exactly to do with the garden, if it should be turned into a soccer field, into storage space, or just remain there. In the end it got torn down and still has not been converted to anything as of today. Another example of workplaces for Latin Americans is a case study I looked at in my COM 105 class; it discussed the conditions of sweatshops in Nicaragua stating that the workers are in constant danger all day, but yet they need to stay there to provide money for their families.

    In the end, the environment does play a big role in race and that us as people need to be color conscious because color is only the outside of a person. It is kind of sad that the color of one’s skin sets so many stereotypes and assumptions in one person that we forget that it is only one aspect of a person and that there is so much more beyond pure skin color. People should be able to have any opportunities no matter what their skin color is.

  15. I also did not realize how relevant race and the environment are with one another. After watching the movie in class where we saw a farm being stripped from Latinos who had a right to it, and watching the video about South Central and how beneficial growing your own food can be, I see that they actually have everything to do with each other. People are kept in the same situation with the same stereotypes because of “rules and regulations” regarding the environment. For example, when the man in the video talked about how the government owns a significant amount of empty lots in that area, and that if those lots were turned into gardens where people were able to grow their own food, the entire neighborhood would have a different morale and economy. Obesity rates would likely decrease because people would actually have access to healthy food; they wouldn’t have to get on two different busses, walk a few blocks, and pay too much for fruit and vegetables. Considering my own neighborhood, which is a generally affluent Caucasian neighborhood, has very flourishing islands in the middle of the roads with tons of plants and flowers everywhere. Everyone has trees and beautiful landscaping and I never really realized that downtown in a less affluent area with much more diversity (I hate saying that but economically it’s just true), there are mostly apartments or small town houses with BARELY any sign of plant life anywhere. There is really no such thing as yard landscaping. It makes me wonder… Does this really have such a large affect on the community that it keeps that part of town the way it is? Is the reason my neighborhood so well off because the environment is in good condition and it motivates people to do well? I’m not exactly sure because it’s a topic that is not covered by the media and is not a common conversation topic. But once it is brought to your attention it is almost frightening how the two go hand in hand and the affect they can have on each other.

  16. I think race and and the environment do relate to one another. Most minorities that don’t live in those nice suburban towns usually live in towns were the environment is not too clean, for example my hometown an agricultural town where most of the population is made up of illegal immigrants most of them being Mexican and in the town you can definitely tell by driving through the town. Most immigrants obtain jobs that is very labor intense and does not pay very well. As you drive through my hometown you see a lot of trailer parks that are not very environmentally friendly, you see children running around being unattended, you also have food banks that give out free food once a week to those in need and they also offer free child care for those who qualify. At the trailer parks you see a bunch of trailers and they are very crowded usually separated by only a couple of feet, you also have very dirty water water that is not drinkable, and i believe like over 90 percent of my school receives free and reduced lunch. In my hometown you also see trash thrown all over the place, you beer cans and bottles littered through the town, on the side of roads. I have also seen appliances that have been tossed on the sides of roads as well as furniture because they don’t have the money to pay for the proper disposal i have also seen a large number of people who burn their trash because they can not afford to pay for their garbage disposal. I think the people of mu community hurt they environment, but they don’t do it on purposed, rather than paying for the proper disposal, their probably feeding their children or paying their rent which i totally respect. That why i say race an the environment do relate wether if its for the good or the bad.

  17. Race and class should always be examined when talking about issues of the environment. Since red lining, people of color have often been pushed into communities which segregate people largely based on their skin tone and their socioeconomic status. These red lined communities most of the times are in poor areas where the sanitation is minimal and is detrimental to daily life. In many inner cities communities of color are surrounded by industrial plants that fumigate toxic waste into the environment. This causes a large health disparity that is constantly seen in poor inner city communities of color. If people are not conscious of these colored disparities when talking about issues of the environment then conflicts similar to those represented in the film “The Garden” will arise. By understanding that communities of color have a history of pollution and unsanitary living we can attempt to right the wrong and provide a more healthy life style for all who reside in our cities. In order to enact change, even small change, people need to stay conscientious of environmental problems and how they disproportionately affect poor and colored communities.

  18. To be honest, I didn’t know too much about how the environment and race correlate together until I read a few articles on this problem. From my understanding race/class have a huge impact in the environment you live in. It is said to be that “people living under the poverty line create the least pollution, but are exposed to the most pollution”, and the “people that create the most pollution, live in the least polluted areas.” African Americans are more likely to live in the vicinity of hazardous waste sites than Caucasians. Both of these statistics are completely wrong in my book. One reason why I think the media and environmental activist have failed to even progress in this field is because the wealthy hold all the money that could fund this problem. The people that live in these environmentally unsound areas don’t have the financial stability to organize an event or purchase the material needed to decrease the amount of pollutants. The media and environmental activist need to get the word out there and express the urgency of this problem to the wealthy. One of them is bound to give a generous donation. Another obstacle in solving this inequality is that in predominantly minority areas, voter registration and education is often lower than average. If you can’t vote, you are unable to participate in the possible passing of a bill that removes the waste site from your neighborhood. If you are uneducated, you might not know the amount of pollutants you breathe in on the daily, and how it affects your health. One must be conscious of every race, gender, income, etc. when addressing environmental problems. An environmental specialists needs to reach out to everybody, if they want to improve the environment as a whole.

  19. It is important that when talking about race and class, that is important to talk about the environment and environmental problems as well. This is because there are different races in this world and each of them are affected differently. Believe it or not race and the environment are way more connected than most people think. Everywhere around, each race is being treated differently, for instance, it can be blamed on the past that has gone on all throughout history. History carries on even if there are changes, people don’t forget. A difference between whites for example, is the advantages that they have compared to those with a different race. Other races when compared to whites might have a disadvantage when it comes to getting jobs, education, and many different scenarios. This is because of the way history has worked and how things are nowadays. There is still racism around sometimes you just can’t see it, which is too bad, but personally I believe racism will always be there and that’s the way it is going to be. Every person is different.

  20. Income level is tied to race. So when talking about environmental problems in low income areas, you are also talking about environmental problems in different race groups. Food deserts are not environmental, but food deserts occur in areas that are predominantly inhabited by minorities. This shows racism from our city officials, who let food prices vary by such a high percentage in different racial groups. The increase of pollution or the lack of clean parks in minority communities is astounding, and the media is partly to blame. The media covers stories that affluent white neighborhoods are interested in. This rarely includes the food prices or pollution levels in low income neighborhoods, because it does not affect the target audience. Since it is not brought to the public’s attention, not much will ever be done about it. While addressing environmental problems, one must be conscious that it is not the community’s fault. If one puts blame on a low income neighborhood for their problems, arguments will ensue and nothing will ever get done. One must talk about environmental problems while putting blame on the city, not on the community.

  21. Poor environmental conditions are not directly related to race. Low income families cannot afford to move into ‘nicer’ neighborhoods, they can only afford to live in neighborhoods where houses are worth much less due to environmental conditions. These low income families tend to be minorities; making the issue into one of not only environment but of race. These poor communities cannot afford improve their surroundings, only the government can help to clean up around neighborhoods where the environment is dangerous to the inhabitants health. The problem with this is that wealth equals power, and those with the wealth will push to have their neighborhoods cleaned and protected from exploitation. This leads to further degradation of already environmentally dangerous communities. The only way for things to change is for collaboration to happen, without throwing blame. When blame gets put on someone or a group of people, the person or persons is usually taken aback and becomes defensive. The communities that require environmental change must raise awareness; bring the issue to those who have the power to help. The next step is for those with the power and influence and collaborate with the community and respectfully listen to their concerns. This is the hardest part of initiating change, because often those with power aren’t interested or willing to negotiate, as we saw in “the garden.” This is a sad reality of life. Change can only occur if the two parties can collaborate. This of course is much easier said than done. Especially if the ones in power are all of one race, and those in the community are all of another. This can cause tension that leads to conflict rather than collaboration and progress. And of course the solution to this would be to look past race, to look at the people and the situation they are in. If it were this easy though, racism would be relic of the past. But as long as differences exist, people will find ways to exploit them.

    • Many of the environmental injustices are directly tied to race. For example, middle-class African American families, who should have access to traditional mortgages or who have the $$, are pushed into neighborhoods with issues relative to the environment. Moreover, if we look at history of Native American reservations, we see environmental injustice cutting across class communities. Remember, it is crucial to talk about institutions and institutional racism and also talk about intersectional realities. Class and race needed to be talked about together

      For more information

      http://www.ejrc.cau.edu/PovpolEj.html

  22. It is important to talk about race and class when talking about environmental problems because they are related to one another. Through recent discussions and class material, I now realize the many problems lower class individuals face when living in a city. I am now aware of “food deserts” and the many negative impacts it has on the community. Food deserts describes the lack of access to fresh food in many cities, primarily in lower class areas. With large amount of the population in low-income areas being minorities, the environment and race connected. Lower income urban areas are faced with many environmental problems due to it being a poor area. The environmental problems include little access to fresh food, small access to green areas, high pollution rates, and asbestos risks in schools. Media has failed to look at the differential impact of environmental issues because this class has been the first time I have heard about such problems. They fail to highlight issues such as food deserts and other low-income environmental issues. I think they are just trying to appeal to the majority demographic. I think they should look at all issues regardless of race or class.

  23. It is Important to talk about race and class concerning the environment and environmental problems because they have a bigger impact one another than we would assume. In certain circumstances the different groups tend to go hand in hand. A lot of times depending on one’s status they tend to live in certain places like poorer people live in ghettos upper richer to middle class mostly white tend to live in upscale housing and suburbia. Most colored or ethnic people tend to live in lower run down housing developments or apartments and the environment in those areas is usually extremely run down and poorly kept. Usually these lower class areas with predominantly minorities tend to have huge waste problems or random chemical issues either in the air via smoke from factories and industries or somehow in the water supply or garbage wastes. Like in the video we watched, there is a problem in a lot of neighborhoods as far as the access to healthy and nutritious foods. Growing gardens can be easier said than done in neighborhoods where there is no available land to do so; Or when the only land or space available to grow healthier foods is contaminated under poor conditions beyond repair. Even some of the middle class families are subject to lower class conditions it certain areas. The rich mostly white upper class is really the only ones exempt from real negative and detrimental effects from their home environment. I think the media has turned the other cheek so to speak to the intense differences in the treatment of environment concerning class and race in America specifically because of capitalism. Apart of capitalism is that it survives on the fact that some do well because others suffer. And in order to make these differences a minute and small or trivial problem they don’t put a spot light on it. If the problem isn’t highlighted than those who are on the upper end of the situation don’t really have to deal with it. Also there is a history behind why these differences exist and in order to address the present the past must be acknowledged. And for the most part it seems like people want to avoid the past or at least avoid talking about it. It’s easier to fight for the issues with quick fixes and these differences would take a lot more and people would have to be willing to help make these changes.

  24. At first thought, race and environment don’t seem to go together. However, after thinking back to lectures about environment of different areas, environment and racial minorities are connected. Many times, minority races live in areas of poor living conditions and which generally don’t have green areas for plants and vegetation to grow. This is much like the people in the documentary, “The Garden” where the community garden was being taken back by the original owner through a back door deal to take his land back to only do nothing but sit on it and tear down the gardens built my the hispanic residents who had taken such great pride in their gardens that they had been able to call their own after year and years of building it up. Something to consider with race and the environment, at least in this case would be the pride that members of a community can have in a green area. I think the media and environmental activists fail to look at areas of race and environment because this won’t fit the “sex and crime” that sells news stories nor is it an area that environmental activists are directly impacted by and therefore don’t want to step into because they choose to care about another area to be passionate about and raise their voice over. One must be color conscious when dealing with environmental problems because although I might see things one way and see a specific solution that I think will be best, that is determined through my “white middle class” point of view. The solution I see may not be the best for the people it is directly affecting.

  25. “Why is it so important to talk about race and class when talking about the environment and environmental problems? Why do you think media, environmental activists and others have failed to look at the differential impact of environmental issues. How one must be color conscious in addressing environment problems?”

    Before this class, I did not even realize there was a connection between race/class and the environment. Watching “The Garden” really opened my eyes to the link between the two. I think its important to talk about because so few people (including myself up until recently) even know that there is a connection. While most people will probably acknowledge a link between things like race/class and employment opportunities, or race/class and its impact on the criminal justice system, very few people know anything about what effect race/class has on the impact of environmental issues being faced by certain classes of people.

    I think that some people have failed to look at the differential impact of environmental issues because it affects the minorities. That is just it, the minority of the population. The media would much rather report on stories that apply/interest a broader audience. We must be color conscious in addressing environmental problems because we must realize that different issues effect different people differently. In order to properly diagnose and combat these issues, it must be understood exactly who is being effected.

  26. I feel it is important to talk about race and class when talking about the environmental problems. If no one talks about the issues regarding it nobody will ever attempt to take on the problems. That may bring wrong doing onto lower class and races. I believe the wrong doing is caused by companies pouring pollutants into lower class areas. So if no one talks about it these companies will be able to do whatever they wish to do to the poverty side of city and towns and put things that could be environmental dangerous to people that live there. If people talk about it and fight against it, there is possibility it might stop the environmental problems going on in lower class areas.

    I believe that the reason why media, environmental activists, and other activist failed to look at the differential impacts of the environmental issues is because they either don’t hear about it or they just don’t care about it enough to go support and fight against it. I also believe that they feel it doesn’t impact the total environment and they probably want to tackle on areas that they think are more important, most likely the area where there are more middle to upper class whites than lower minority families living there.

    Someone must be color conscious in addressing environmental problems because they need to handle certain ethnic groups, so it does not create a big problem and create a riot or other forms of violence. Also, they should be color conscious because you do not want to offend anybody when you have talks with certain groups.

  27. After watching the movie, “The Garden” I realized how there is a direct connection between race and the environment. The movie really opened up my eyes to see that environmental racism is in fact a major problem. Environmental Racism: “environmental racism is racial discrimination in environmental policy-making and enforcement of regulations and laws, the deliberate targeting of communities of color for toxic waste facilities, the official sanctioning of the presence of life threatening poisons and pollutants for communities of color, and the history of excluding people of color from leadership of the environmental movement.” (Holifield). Like Holifield defined environmental racism, he says that it is the deliberate targeting of communities. This directly relates to The Garden movie, the Latino residents were forced out of the community garden. They were directly targeted, because the owner decided he wanted to take back his land, and try to tell it for triple the price he paid. The residents of the garden were caught up in “under the table” bargains and tradeoffs, when they only wanted to preserve their garden like that had done for years. This story was a realistic and unfair example of environmental racism, but it just shows us that we must be color conscious in these types of situations. We need to be color conscious, because these environmental race problems can affect anyone, anywhere, and at any time. Though they target those of low-income and communities of color, we need to imagine if we were in their shoes, because there is always multiple solutions to solving the problems.

    Holifield, Ryan (2001). “Defining environmental justice and environmental racism”. Urban Geography 22 (1): 78–90.

  28. I think environment racism is part of racism, in many people’s mind, when we talk about area, the first thought is race. For example, if someone told me America has many trees, the first thing comt to my mind is not American map, or where is America, the first thing I thought is Americans. In fact, there is connection between race and environment, it is depents culture, people, etc. However, there are not so many influence from race, just people choose to belive. In 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, one American politician went to China with a gas mask. He has never been to China before, he chooses to bring gas mask because he heard from his family or news. However, he did not think if chinese environment soo bad like that, why they choose Beijing to hold the Olympic Games. From that time, I know there is a racism called environment racism.
    I think newspaper and some TV shows can affect people’s mind. Many people know area depents environment not race, but they still think about race when we talk about environment. I think many news change people’s mind although there is not absolute conection.

  29. Prior to taking this class, I never made the connection between race and the environment, let alone connected race to much of anything. The Garden video really helped me connect issues around race and the environment. This video demonstrated to me how exactly people can be effected in their everyday lives in relation to the color of their skin and their environmental privileges. Race in school systems is almost always talked about in regards to segregation in the 19050s in schools, jobs, etc. but is never presented in present day scenarios. The media also makes an effort to avoid such topics of tension, which leads people to believe false ideals of what’s really going on in our society. I feel that most kids now a days are taught in school that racism is something of the past and that is not true. It is beneficial to be color conscious with environmental issues because you can better understand the perspectives of others and prevent further problems from arising.

  30. Society today is all about improving and growing into new and advanced ways. The environment affects everyone differently. Some believe certain races are related to impoverished areas. Sometimes I think that some ethnicities are blamed for this all the time, even when they’re not always at fault. I think they’ve been blamed for so long that it’s just normal for us to think the majority of them are the same. I think the focus should be not on who is at blame but how the issues can be fixed and to make sure they do not reoccur in the future. Sure, it is common for Hispanics and African Americans to live in these areas but we shouldn’t be looking at the color of their skin, we should be looking for solutions to these problems and encouraging them to make better lives for themselves. We should be trying to help anyone living in these conditions, to improve life for all Americans. Another race is see affected by this is the Native Americans. Before taking this class I wasn’t very aware of how bad their living conditions are. I was really surprised to learn how high the cancer rates are for them. Our society should make this a top priority issue. Also, half of all Native American live in communities with an uncontrolled toxic waste site. This is something we learned in class and I was astonished. Why would something do harmful not being taken care of a long time ago? In my opinion this should be our nations main focus at the moment.

  31. Inequality in living conditions throughout the United States as well as the rest of the world is a constant and apparent issue. Due to economic housing patterns certain communities are afforded better living conditions then others. Unfortunately in the United States, racial correlation to wealth usually leaves minorities including Blacks, Hispanics, and Natives living in poor polluted communities. These communities because they don’t have the funding or usually involvement in the government, often live in areas subjecting them to possible physical harm due to environmental conditions. Environmental Racism is defined as racial discrimination in environmental policymaking and the unequal enforcement of the environmental laws and regulations. These policies target the poor minority population, now leaving 50% of Native American communities living in polluted endangered areas. To fix our problems with inequalities in the United States we need to educate our youth not only about the inequalities in the justice, education and government systems, but environmental right in which human has the right to live in humane conditions.

  32. When talking about race and class at first I did not think is was important when talking about the environment and environmental problems, but then I realized that the race and class has a lot to do with the environment. Different races are exposed to different types of environment. For example there are some parts in Africa that have a rural environment and have trouble with water and food resources when in the United States we don’t have that problem as much. I think the media, environmental activist and others have failed to look at the differential impact of environmental issues because it is not portrayed in our society the different environments each is exposed to. You see it all the time on television and when you walk by but no one ever seems to do anything about it. I feel like most people of color address environment problems more due to their lack of access to certain things like money, health care, food, contaminated water. You mainly see color people in the rural neighborhoods trying to survive day by day in this world, when people non-color are living in good neighborhoods. Why does there have to be rural areas and why does it seem like more color people live in rural areas? The government should try to make these environmental problems go away. They should fix the rural neighborhoods and try to make each environment a safe environment for everyone despite their race or financial status.

  33. It is important to talk about race and class when talking about environment and environmental problems because different income levels and racial categories play a major role in the communities that individuals tend to live in. Income and housing as a whole is different among races. Environmental concerns play a large role in low income communities for African Americans, Latinos and other racial minorities.

    “African Americans bore the brunt of early forms of environmental pollution and disease as whites fled urban areas to the new streetcar suburbs. Black neighborhoods became toxic dumps and black bodies became toxic sites.”

    The amount of resources available in lower income areas is scarce to those in working and middle class communities. The resources that are accessible in higher income areas, such as grocery stores and health clinics tend to lack in lower income communities. Families with a sufficient amount of income are able to pay for health care and other benefits that allow their family to have better treatment for illnesses.

    I feel that media, environmental activists and others have failed to look at the differential impact of environmental issues because they do not recognize how large of an impact that these problems have on families that do not have an income or steady income.

    One must be color conscious in addressing environmental problems because you need to think about the bigger picture that these concerns have on growing communities. Since most housing communities house residents of color, the government needs to step in and enforce laws that allow these individuals the opportunities and necessities they need to live sufficiently.

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