Rev Dr Benjamin Chavez Jr coined the term of "environmental discrimination" during the civil rights movement and just recently joined Duke University as a fellow to help Duke align its research goals and strategies with its academic program and research with environmental and social justice.
Environmental racism is the locating of polluting and waste facilities near low income, working African Americans, Latines, Indigenous People, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, migrant farmworkers which studies show a higher rate of cancer and respiratory diseases in people located near them.
Initially community action was in the form of protests that were then refocused to law suits but neither have seemed to stop this from happening so now EPA complaints are being pursued as well as government and international invest which is needed to reduce and ideally elinate pollution.
(1) University of CA, Berkeley and Columbia University (2023) found 2X as many oil and gas wells than mostly white neighborhoods.
(2) Flint, MI (2014) water system contamination by lead
(3) Dakota Access Pipeline (2016) rerouted through an Indian Reservation by Army Corp of Engineers so as not to endanger the state Capitol water supply.
(4) Louisiana Cancer Alley with oil and gas operations has a majority black population with the country's highest cancer risk levels from air pollution.
(5) 23% of E-waste (computers, appliances, etc) are exported to developing nations.
(6) developed countries produce 80% of fossil fuel emissions but developing countries are most effected by extreme climate events.
Work being done to address this
(1) U.N. COP meetings including a loss and damage fund
(2) US Justice40Initiative to invest in communities overburdened by pollution using a screening tool
"Study after study has since shown that those communities are disproportionately exposed to fumes, toxic dust, ash, soot, and other pollutants from such hazardous facilities located in their midst. As a result, they face increased risks of health problems like cancer and respiratory issues.
Climate justice is essential. Far too many communities of color suffer from environmental racism while white people have moved to the suburbs because it's been historically easier for them to buy homes.
It's important that all infrastructure and development consider the implications on the communities and does not racially discriminate against anybody.