EJ 101

A short video explains why the term “environmental justice” is so important.

During a visit to Flint, Michigan, this week, Cornell Brooks, the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, called the city’s ongoing water crisis “one of the most profound environmental justice issues of our time.” Brooks echoed the concern of many who say that the fact that the majority of the city’s residents are black and more than 40 percent of them live below the poverty line played into why officials took so long to address the dangerous and putrid lead-laden water.

The outrageous situation in Flint is just the latest example of pollution having a disproportionate impact on poor and minority communities. The above video, by Grist, explains how environmental disasters became so unevenly distributed and why environmental justice—the movement to ensure everyone has clean water, air, and land—is so important. 

onEarth provides reporting and analysis about environmental science, policy, and culture. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. Learn more or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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