Numerous studies have documented African Americans communities face a disproportionate share of environmental and health threats. It is for this simple reason the Environmental Justice Movement was born some three decades ago—a national movement born fighting environmental racism. Millions of African Americans look to the federal Environmental Protection Agency for equal environmental protection they have been denied by their state environmental agencies, many of whom have a long and sordid history of protecting polluters over protecting residents who live in industrial “sacrifice zones.” A weakened federal EPA is a recipe for disaster. Rolling-back or gutting environmental regulations is a roadmap for more trips to the emergency room for many Americans who live on the fenceline with polluting industries. We must resist all efforts to dismantle EPA and our nation’s environmental protection apparatus as if our lives depend upon on it—and they do.
In 2016, we have an opportunity to commemorate and celebrate some important environmental justice milestones and work on finishing other struggles. The Flint water crisis unfolding today provides a textbook case for why we must build justice and equal protection into environmental decision making. It’s time to stand with communities endangered by environmental injustice and the principle of profit over people. Let’s make 2016 the year of justice.
Comments by Robert D. Bullard at EPA Title VI Civil Rights Listening Session Houston – January 12, 2016
EPA holds Title VI Civil Rights listening session at Texas Southern University in Houston to get public comments on its proposed amendments to nondiscrimination regulation.
Three Texas Southern University Mickey Leland Scholars are part of a 50-member delegation of student leaders and faculty mentors who will be attending the United Nations COP21 Climate Summit in Paris. The HBCU COP21 delegation includes 15 schools in states stretching from Texas to Pennsylvania.
The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Climate Change Consortium is sending a delegation of 50 student leaders and faculty mentors to the United Nations COP21 Climate Summit in Paris. The summit runs from November 30 to December 11, 2015 and will bring together more than 125 world leaders, international organizations and civil society to discuss plans to achieve a new international agreement on the climate. The HBCU COP21 delegation includes 15 schools in states stretching from Texas to Pennsylvania.
The HBCU Climate Change Consortium was founded to support environmental and climate education and training, research, policy and civic engagement work—all viewed through an equity and justice lens. It is also fundraising to send a delegation of young emerging African American leaders from black colleges to the COP21 climate meetings in Paris this December.
Houston environmental activist Juan Parras is the 2015 recipient of the Sierra Club Robert D. Bullard Environmental Justice Award. Since 2006, Mr. Parras has led Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services or T.e.j.a.s, Houston lone Latino environmental justice organization, in its quest for health, justice and sustainability in Houston’s most environmentally challenged communities.
“Dumping in Dixie,” the first book to chronicle environmental justice struggles in the United States, turns 25. Although the book dealt with black communities in the South fighting against the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow segregation, residential apartheid and environmental racism, over the last quarter century “Dumping in Dixie” environmental justice framing has translated to larger race and class struggles in the United States and around the world.
Katrina and the Second Disaster: A 20-Point Plan to Destroy Black New Orleans Revisited After 10 Years
This August 29 will mark the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Now is a good time to revisit Katrina and the Second Disaster: A Twenty-Point Plan to Destroy Black New Orleans, a blog I wrote months after the disaster. Now after ten years, Katrina watchers, experts, urban planners, funders, government and nongovernment organizations, and community leaders point to some shocking statistics and trends: smaller African American footprint, rising income inequality, uptick in black child poverty, shortage of low-income housing, skyrocketing apartment rents, rampant housing discrimination, runaway neighborhood gentrification, and overall uneven recovery. While these outcomes are alarming, they should be no surprise given the array of decade-long policies built on preexisting racial inequality that preceded the 2005 storm. If you rebuild on inequality, you can expect more inequality—not less inequality.
The Iowa State University Alumni Association named me its 2015 Alumni Merit Award recipient (PhD Sociology, Ag and Life Sciences 1976). I will be joining some esteemed company, including my hero George Washington Carver (1894 ISU alum) who received the Award in 1937.