Let’s Make 2016 the Year of Justice: A Call for Environmental Justice Milestones

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.

“Dumping in Dixie” Turns 25

“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.

Human Rights and Civil Rights Tribunal to Be Held at Selma Commemoration March 7

A coalition of environmental and climate justice and civil rights leaders will hold a tribunal in Selma, AL on Saturday March 7 as part of the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of Jubilee Bridge Crossing. The tribunal will feature the testimonies of leaders from communities from across Alabama who will speak with jurists from around the country who are experienced in achieving environmental justice victories. The theme of the tribunal is “Change Is Gonna Come: Advancing an Environmental and Climate Justice Agenda in the South.” A strategy session will also be held to map out a “southern initiative” on climate justice.

HBCUs and Frontline Gulf Coast Communities to Hold “Teach-In” at NYC Climate Convergence

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Climate Initiative, a consortium of black colleges and community based organizations in the Gulf Coast and South Atlantic states, will hold a “teach-in” at the Global Climate Convergence at 10:45am – 12:15pm, September 20 (Empire State College, 325 Hudson Street, Room 544, New York, NY). The theme of the teach-in, “Building a Strong U.S. “Southern Initiative” to Address Climate Change and Community Resilience,” emphasizes educating and training leaders from low-wealth and people of color communities in the Gulf Coast and South Atlantic states about the causes, impacts and consequences of climate change, mitigation and adaptation strategies, and effective models for building and enhancing community resilience to disasters.

Houston to Host Three Major Environmental Justice Events in August

Houston will be hosting three important environmental justice events during the first week of August. All of the meetings will address the disproportionate location of industrial polluting facilities and toxic dumping on low-income and people of color communities and the potential health effects. The Houston “petropolis” (with its no-zoning policy) provides a perfect case study for examining how environmental decision making over the years—with the absence of an equity and justice lens—placed low-wealth and people of color neighborhoods on the frontline of environmental assault and thus exposed them to elevated health risks. The Environmental Justice Movement has set a course to reverse and correct these past mistakes and prevent them from happening in the future.

Houston’s People of Color Neighborhoods “Unofficially Zoned” for Garbage

Zero Waste Houston Coalition will hold an Environmental Justice and Waste Summit on Saturday August 2 at the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University in Houston. The Summit organizers include local and national leaders who will present strategies to address race, waste and environmental justice issues in Houston. The Summit will bring special attention to Houston’s controversial “One Bin for All” trash recycling proposal which presents social environmental challenges by giving preference to siting a new waste facility in people of color neighborhoods. After more than three decades. some Houston residents may have to once again confront environmental racism.

Houston’s New Recycling Plan Gives Preference to Siting Waste Facility in Minority Areas

The Zero Waste Houston Coalition released a new report, “It’s Smarter to Separate: How Houston’s Trash Proposal Would Waste Our Resources, Pollute Our Air and Harm Our Community’s Health,” on the steps of City Hall. The report details environmental problems and challenges facing the One Bin for All experiment the City of Houston is considering to jumpstart its recycling program. It also documents the environmental justice and civil rights implications of the City giving preference to existing landfills for the location of its new One Bin for All waste facility. Houston since the 1920s has located its landfills, incinerators and garbage transfer stations exclusively in mostly African American and Latino neighborhoods.