Not everyone is impacted equally by environmental and climate issues
Environmental racism is a term to describe the ways that environmental problems hurt people and communities of color more than white people. Across the globe, people who are poor or belong to racial and ethnic minorities often have to live, work, or play in unhealthy environments. These groups of people may be more exposed to toxic chemicals in the environment like coal ash or lead paint. Undesirable landfills, power plants, and factories are often placed in communities of color or poor neighborhoods. Community leaders facing environmental racism started the environmental justice movement.
Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. In simpler terms, it means that everyone gets an equal chance at a healthy life and a healthy environment.
Become an environmental justice advocate
1. Learn the basics
Read more about the basics of environmental racism and justice here. Then, explore the following resources!
- Watch this 3 minute video for a breakdown of environmental racism and justice.
- Learn about the history of the environmental justice movement by watching this short video
- North Carolina was the launchpad for the environmental justice movement in the 1980s. Read more about that here.
2. Think about your experience
Have you ever experienced environmental racism? Where is the most pollution in your community? Can you find any groups working on environmental justice?
2. Find out how kids are taking action
At-risk communities and youth are fighting for environmental justice all over the country. Hear some of their stories in this short video about the youth at the frontline of the movement.
Take a photo of the research process or any notes you take and share it on social media. Make sure to tag @peancorg and #PEAYoungLeaders to be entered into the weekly Young Eco Leaders Raffle.
Sign up to get updates from PEA about our innovative and hands-on educational programming, events, community actions, and more!