Environmental racism is a public health crisis! Once you see the connection, it can’t be unseen. The systemic oppression that redlines and reduces housing opportunities, limits people’s right to vote, and threatens a person’s safety from the state and police is the same that allows dumping, drilling, pesticides, heat islands, and environmental degradation in communities of color that both create and exacerbate health issues.
When political representation, economic opportunities, and environmental resources are stolen from communities, environmental outcomes are deadly. For example, increased levels of pesticides in the air and water instigate and exacerbate cases of asthma in the Central Valley, California a location with a large latinx, immigrant community. Factory dumping in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley disproportionately affects it’s large (4x the national average) Black population. And paper mills pollute the fishing waters and sicken the Mi’qmaq indigenous community in A’se’k (Boat Harbour), Nova Scotia.
The health outcomes are real when we destroy and exploit nature. And it’s most often worse for those who didn’t even do the damage.