Environmental Racism

Climate change and other environmental hazards disproportionately affect people of color. This phenomenon is known as "Environmental Racism." 

Environmental racism refers to the institutional rules, regulations, policies or government and/or corporate decisions that deliberately target certain communities for locally undesirable land uses and lax enforcement of zoning and environmental laws, resulting in communities being disproportionately exposed to toxic and hazardous waste based upon race. Environmental racism is caused by several factors, including intentional neglect, the alleged need for a receptacle for pollutants in urban areas, and a lack of institutional power and low land values of people of color. It is a well-documented fact that communities of color and low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by polluting industries (and very specifically, hazardous waste facilities) and lax regulation of these industries. 

Watch this interview with the “father of environmental justice,” Robert Bullard, who clearly outlines the injustices of the climate crisis and how minority groups are disproportionately affected by its consequences. “Climate change will exacerbate the inequities that already exist.”

Watch Sherri Mitchell, indigenous rights lawyer and environmental justice advocate of 25 years share her experience as an indigenous person deeply affected by climate change. “What has people finally starting to recognize what’s going on with indigenous rights is that the things that indigenous peoples have been facing for decades are now leaking out into the commons.” 


[1]PBS (Video)

[2]Now This (Video)