The environmental justice movement has set out clear goals of eliminating unequal enforcement of environmental, civil rights, and public health laws. Environmental justice leaders...have assisted public decision makers in identifying "at risk" populations, toxic "hot spots," research gaps, and action models to correct existing imbalances and prevent future threats... Grassroots groups have taken the offensive to ensure that government and industry do the right thing.
Environmental justice..means sharing in the benefits. Governments must live up to their mandate of protecting all people and the environment. Anything less is unacceptable. The solution to environmental injustice lies in the realm of equal protection of all individuals, groups, and communities. No community, rich or poor, urban or suburban, black or white, should be allowed to become a "sacrifice zone" or the dumping ground... The environmental justice movement challenges toxic colonialism, environmental racism, and the international toxics trade at home and abroad.
Netroots Nation 2011 will be held in Minneapolis. Eons ago I promised that I would highlight some local community organizations, organizations that speak to issues of communities of color and whose potential involvement in NN11 might increase diversity of both particiaptants and perspectives.. Evironmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota will be the first of several highlighted...
Like most organizations that challenge environmental racism, Evironmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota sprang from the grassroots. An impetus for EJAM’s formation was to empower low-income and communities of color to influence decisions on the future of a coal-fired power plant located in North Minneapolis. EJAM helped secure the first-ever Public Utilities Commission (PUC) public hearing on energy in North Minneapolis Over 150 people attended and many voiced their concerns about the effects of coal plant pollution on their health and their community. The hearing had a major impact on the PUC’s ultimate decision to approve conversion of the Riverside Power plant from dirty coal to cleaner natural gas. This victory generated momentum for the continued development of EJAM. EJAM’s work draws on the environmental justice framework set forth by Robert Bullard. and the Principles of Environmental Justice from the People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, adopted on October 27, 1991 in Washington, D.C.
WE THE PEOPLE OF COLOR, gathered together at this multinational People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, to begin to build a national and international movement of all peoples of color to fight the destruction and taking of our lands and communities, do hereby re-establish our spiritual interdependence to the sacredness of our Mother Earth; to respect and celebrate each of our cultures, languages and beliefs about the natural world and our roles in healing ourselves; to insure environmental justice; to promote economic alternatives which would contribute to the development of environmentally safe livelihoods; and, to secure our political, economic and cultural liberation that has been denied for over 500 years of colonization and oppression, resulting in the poisoning of our communities and land and the genocide of our peoples, do affirm and adopt these Principles of Environmental Justice:
1.Environmental justice affirms the sacredness of Mother Earth, ecological unity and the interdependence of all species, and the right to be free from ecological destruction.
2.Environmental justice demands that public policy be based on mutual respect and justice for all peoples, free from any form of discrimination or bias.
3.Environmental justice mandates the right to ethical, balanced and responsible uses of land and renewable resources in the interest of a sustainable planet for humans and other living things.
4.Environmental justice calls for universal protection from nuclear testing, extraction, production and disposal of toxic/hazardous wastes and poisons and nuclear testing that threaten the fundamental right to clean air, land, water, and food.
5.Environmental justice affirms the fundamental right to political, economic, cultural and environmental self-determination of all peoples.
6.Environmental justice demands the cessation of the production of all toxins, hazardous wastes, and radioactive materials, and that all past and current producers be held strictly accountable to the people for detoxification and the containment at the point of production.
7.Environmental justice demands the right to participate as equal partners at every level of decision-making including needs assessment, planning, implementation, enforcement and evaluation.
8.Environmental justice affirms the right of all workers to a safe and healthy work environment, without being forced to choose between an unsafe livelihood and unemployment. It also affirms the right of those who work at home to be free from environmental hazards.
9.Environmental justice protects the right of victims of environmental injustice to receive full compensation and reparations for damages as well as quality health care.
10.Environmental justice considers governmental acts of environmental injustice a violation of international law, the Universal Declaration On Human Rights, and the United Nations Convention on Genocide.
11.Environmental justice must recognize a special legal and natural relationship of Native Peoples to the U.S. government through treaties, agreements, compacts, and covenants affirming sovereignty and self-determination.
12.Environmental justice affirms the need for urban and rural ecological policies to clean up and rebuild our cities and rural areas in balance with nature, honoring the cultural integrity of all our communities, and providing fair access for all to the full range of resources.
13.Environmental justice calls for the strict enforcement of principles of informed consent, and a halt to the testing of experimental reproductive and medical procedures and vaccinations on people of color.
14.Environmental justice opposes the destructive operations of multi-national corporations.
15.Environmental justice opposes military occupation, repression and exploitation of lands, peoples and cultures, and other life forms.
16.Environmental justice calls for the education of present and future generations which emphasizes social and environmental issues, based on our experience and an appreciation of our diverse cultural perspectives.
17.Environmental justice requires that we, as individuals, make personal and consumer choices to consume as little of Mother Earth's resources and to produce as little waste as possible; and make the conscious decision to challenge and reprioritize our lifestyles to insure the health of the natural world for present and future generations.
EKAM serves the community of Near North and surrounding northside neighborhoods, with a population that is 58% black, 14% Asian, 12% white and 9% Hispanic, and a poverty rate of nearly 40%. EJAM has also worked closely with the Phillips neighborhood on the southside. Phillips has an equally diverse with apopulaion that is 29% black, 22% Lationo/a and 11% American Indian. The poverty rate in Phillips is again, almost 40%. EJAM has worked with Philips on lead poisoning prevention and public pressure that resulted in the "Arsenic Triangle" being designated as an EPA Superfund clean-up site.
Despite being in exsistence for less than 10 years. EJAM offers a wide range of programs for youth and adults that emphasize green jobs, urban farming and climate justice. EJMA also has a long list of successes. These include actions on:
■ Mercury pollution: EJAM has mobilized communities, testified and advocated at U.S. EPA, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Minnesota legislative hearings to focus on the Environmental Justice-related impacts of mercury. EJAM significantly contributed to the 2006 passage of Minnesota laws reducing mercury pollution from the state’s largest coal plants by 90 percent and led a successful effort to adopt a Minneapolis mercury reduction ordinance.
■ Pesticides: EJAM has collaborated with Centro Campesino to protect migrant workers from pesticides since hosting Dr. Tyrone Hayes at the 2004 Founder’s Day event to discuss effects of atrazine. EJAM and Centro Campesino have since presented testimony at the Minnesota legislature on the need to protect migrant farm workers from pesticide exposure.
■ Arsenic: EJAM organized an "Arsenic Triangle" community accountability session in June 2006 to assist residents in clean up of arsenic pesticide contamination in South Minneapolis and continues to advocate for protection of community members.
■ Lead pollution: EJAM assisted the City of Minneapolis in securing a $2 million grant from HUD to remediate lead paint in the Phillips neighborhood. EJAM raised awareness of disparities in lead exposure, resulting in a 2005 law tightening up the requirements that protect children with elevated blood lead levels.
■ Toxic Chemicals: EJAM, as a partner with Healthy Legacy, a statewide coalition working on safer products and safer production methods, trained youth leaders to advocate on these issues. These youth leaders worked with Rep. Karen Clark to pass a Pilot Project on reducing scented products in Minneapolis schools.
■ Global Climate Change: Based on community interest generated by the 2008 Founder’s day, EJAM assembled a global warming work group, which is to develop strategies to tackle global warming which disproportionately affects low income and communities of color.
EJAM's mission is to work in collaboration with communities to create equitable, healthful and sustainable futures for all generations. Through their on-going work, they live their vision --
We envision healthful, economically robust, environmentally sound communities, rooted in shared participation and equity.
The EcoJustice series discusses environmental justice, and the disproportionate impacts of environmental degradation and the climate crisis on communities around the world.
Almost 4 decades ago, the EPA was created partially in response to the public health problems caused in the United States by environmental conditions, which included unhealthy air, polluted rivers, unsafe drinking water and waste disposal. Oftentimes, the answer, both here and abroad, has been to locate factories and other pollution-emitting facilities in poor, culturally diverse, or minority communities.
EcoJustice demands equal rights for all persons to clean, healthy and sustainable communities.
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