Examples of Environmental Racism
The United States
The number of examples I found in The United States alone is insurmountable. There’s the Cancer Alley in Louisiana, where Black and Hispanic communities live next to petrochemical facilities; alarmingly, they are 50 times more likely to get cancer than the national average.
And, during Hurricane Katrina, the government ordered the relocation of families but failed to take into account that more than half of New Orleans’s community relied on public transportation. This resulted in hundreds of deaths in the Black community.
Think about it.
When talking about environmental justice, we need to talk about mobilization, access to clean water, safe solid waste removal services, underfunded education, PoC in leadership positions, and so many more elements that heavily affect the Black, Hispanic, and Native tribes.
The environmental justice movement has risen in the last decades, which has enacted environmental restrictions in the US and Europe.
But wait a minute.
Big corporations still need to dump toxic waste. If they can’t do it in their own country, where do you think they are polluting now?
You guessed it. Overseas. More specifically, developing countries that don’t have as much economical or political power to fight back.
For instance, in Nigeria, the Ogoni people have protested against Shell Oil for polluting their land. This got worse when the government ordered the execution of nine Ogoni activists.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Mexico and the US have been disputing their borders for a long time. The United States taking 90% of the Colorado River has affected the Native tribe of Cucapá. This is their most important water source! The remaining 10%, which is in Mexico, is for the agricultural industry. And, the small water flow that is still available to the Cucapá is polluted.
Same goes for the First Nations people of Australia.
The country, with which they have spiritual interconnectedness, has been stripped away. Not to mention that their life expectancy is 20 years less than non-Indigenous groups. The government greatly favours mining corporations that destroy Indigenous lands in favour of capitalism and colonialism.
If we ask ourselves the question: Who benefits from environmental racism? The answer is as clear as privatised water: white privilege and capitalism.