What’s Environmental Justice?

When it comes to the implications of pollution and toxic waste, Renee Skelton says, “no one wants a factory, a landfill, or a diesel bus garage for a neighbor.” Where does it go?

People who live, work, and play in America’s most polluted environments are commonly people of color and the poor. This makes it harder for black, brown, and low-income communities to have access to clean air, water, and natural spaces and statistically more likely to live in neighborhoods exposed to toxic waste, landfills, highways, and other environmental hazards. All of these factors can lead to serious public health issues.

When looking into the fight for racial justice or the environmentalism movement, it is important to expand our definitions and understand the interconnectedness of the two. To protect the natural environment is to also prioritize the vulnerable communities who are most affected. From food deserts—neighborhoods without access to fresh produce—to communities impacted negatively by fracking, coal-mining, or other environmental hazards, it’s going to take action to ensure a greener and cleaner future for everyone.

Louisville Environmental Justice Map:

Source: WFPL – Louisville Environmental Justice

Learn more at:

  • So you want to talk about Environmental Racism
  • Sorry, we’re closed: How everyone is hurt when grocery stores shut down
  • Flint water crisis is the most egregious example of environmental injustice, says researcher
  • The Inequality of America’s Parks and Green Space
  • Disproportionate Exposures in Environmental Justice and Other Populations: The Importance of Outliers

Sources: Intersectional Environmentalism: Why Environmental Justice Is Essential For A Sustainable Future, The Environmental Justice Movement