Column: Let’s talk about it


Let’s talk about Environmental Racism


Communities of color and low income communities are disproportionately being affected by unjust environmental factors affecting their physical health.
This is known as environmental racism, a term that became more frequently used in the 1960-70s. It has become a growing issue as more areas of the United States become more industrialized.
Around the 1970s, the United States conducted numerous nuclear weapon tests that created immense pollution, especially for the surrounding areas. It is a known fact that the nuclear tests and uranium mines used during this time were placed near Indigenous reservations and communities of color. Although it was years ago, effects of this testing can still be seen. In 2016, it was reported by the CDC that babies born from parents of the Navajo Nation still had traces of uranium in their urine. This statistic shows how impactful those testing sites and mines were to the innocent people around that area. Even more than thirty years later, effects could still be seen in the new generations.
Why would corporations inflict that on innocent people? The answer is money. When a corporation violates environmental laws, the fines are lower in communities of color, especially in Black communities, according to Dorceta Taylor, professor at the Yale School of the Environment. Saving money for a huge corporation comes with the trade off of human lives apparently. The consequences of environmental racism are becoming deadly for those who are being impacted currently.
According to “Scientific American,” pollution and increasing heat due to global warming is becoming the leading cause of death to inner-city residents. This heat caused by global warming is an effect known as the ‘urban island heat effect.’ This is a reality that most people have the privilege to turn a blind eye to. It is not widely recognized, but the rate of deaths caused by environmental injustice is growing exponentially.
There is no coincidence that the largest waste landfill in America is located in Puente Hills, California, according to CNN. After deeper research into this area, it has a high amount of Latino diversity and, according to “US News,” 83 percent of students attending the Puente Hills High School are economically disadvantaged. Major corporations are choosing to industrialize and poison low income areas, especially targeting areas of color. What must happen is a joint effort to spread knowledge about this ongoing crisis. Be sure to vote in favor of legislation that aids the victims of environmental racism and to help to hold the corporations accountable.