Environmental Justice


The  environmental injustice is caused by many factors, explain some of these factors and, in your opinion, does Locally Unwanted Land Uses LULUs, occurred in disadvantaged communities OR the composition of communities change to result in concentration of people of color around LULUs  (1 page)

Slum formation around the world happens by poor marginalized communities. Name the reasons they are formed and what can we learn from such informal developments. (1 page)

8 thoughts on “Environmental Justice

  1. Environmental injustice is a term used when a group of community has to endure higher level of environmental risks such as pollution, terrible housing opportunity, poor health care, economic inequality, lower environmental equity, and liberty to speech from the government. It has been noticed that the occurrence of environmental racism leading to environmental risk and environmental injustice. There are some factors that should be noted relating causation of environmental injustice. First being the reduction of land values of an area, in the scarcity to find a cheaper living space, the lands that are polluted are usually marked under price compelling the lower income family to own a place in that area. However, this would lead these groups of lower income people to live in a environmentally degraded area causing environmental injustice. Another factor is the market dynamics, for instance, lower priced areas could not only invite lower income people but also those rich companies that can buy land to dump and pollute the area as they wish. The third factor is the lack of environmental law enforcement, it is obvious that communities with lower living standards have heightened crimes and also lawlessness. Pollutants can take full advantage of these lawless communities to dump their wastes and go unnoticed or without being called upon for decades affecting the lives of people who live in that community.
    Given the scenario weather Locally Unwanted Land Uses (LULUs) could have occurred in disadvantaged communities, or could the composition of communities have resulted concentration of people of color around LULUs, I would have to say I disagree with the later strongly. The second statement seems a little harsh to me as to why anyone would consider that the people of color would willingly decide to reside around LULUs. It would only make sense to me if by people of color the question means people with lower economic status or economically disadvantaged families. Therefore, in my opinion, LULUs occurred in disadvantaged communities because people does not have enough resources to fight against the people who are taking advantage of the space.
    The environment that they live in is very crucial for humans lives, there are times when built environment shape people’s experience of life and times when people shape built environment. Reminisce of immigration, and colonialism are two factors of people shaping built environment. Another one is the slum formation, this is a living environment created by a group of habitats, usually in a urban area, by people who have been the victim of corruption of a government or are ignored population by the government. A description of slum would be living areas that are densely packed in a closed-compact area with little to no basic amenities availability such as sanitation services, supply of clean water, reliable electricity, law enforcements and any basic services. The examples used in class for slums formations were Caracas from South America, Mokoko from Africa, Zabbaleen from Africa, and Shanxi from Asia. All of these places had created a world of its own, the reasons of these formations were usually due to poverty or unsystematic and uncaring government involvement.
    After watching the ted talk by Iwan Baan, Ingenious homes in unexpected places, and learning about these places what I got was a change of heart and attitude towards slums. Usually, slums are considered to be unruly and sore in the eye, but the way people have gathered together in such harsh conditions and made a lifestyle for themselves is actually inspiring in a different level. These informal development shows people’s determination to survive and flourish is any conditions. It shows that people can thrive and adapt to any conditions they are thrown at, and that people are creative when it comes to creating a living space that they want to call their home.

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  2. According to lecture notes, an environmental justice area is where 20 percent or more live in poverty and/or 30 percent or more of the population is minority. This term is often linked to environmental racism or environmental equality. Environmental racism means people with lower social standing, like the black and the poor, are more often exposed to bad environment than those with higher social standing, like the white and the rich. Then, the term environmental equality brings up to reverse this phenomenon.
    There are a few factors causing environmental injustice. First, it was about the low land price around the highly polluted areas. Take an example of a landfill site, houses around there will not be high because there will be a lot of garbage trucks passing by every day and that will cause the area to be more polluted than others. Then, the land price drops, attracts the poor, and forms environmental injustice.
    Second, law enforcement may be looser in a poor neighborhood than in a rich neighborhood. According to Maslow Hierarchy of Needs, human beings will satisfy their basic needs first, like getting full and a shelter. Then, they will seek for safety, belongings and so on. Therefore, plants worsen the environment may face less obstacles if they are built in a poor area than a rich area because poor may just focus on basic needs and be absent in politics. This leads to the poor living in a highly polluted area and brings out environmental injustice
    Third, market is also a reason leading to environmental injustice. There maybe a special need of an item, then it causes the production process moved in to the neighborhood. Take an example of the cans production, the producers may find out that the poor buys more cans than the rich so they moved the factory into the poor neighborhood, causing environmental injustice. Besides that, market can also mean the labor market. By putting the whole production process in a relatively labor excessive neighborhood which is usually the poorer can help with the business.
    The society built up differently all around the world. From the place that I was raised, I think environmental injustice occurs because of the change of the community composition. I was not raised in a multi-raced country with a serious racism. In my opinion, environmental injustice occurs because of the rich had the ability to get out of the polluted city and develop a new community else where. This leading to the poor community stay in a polluted area. From my point of view, it is like how urbanization takes place. The rich did not want to stay in the polluted and stressful inner city anymore, so they moved to a rural area, leaving the poorer in a bad living environment. Also, it sounds a little bit ridiculous and unreasonable for me to dump the locally unwanted land uses to a minority neighborhood just because of their skin color or social status.

    In almost every developing country or region, there is often a slum that gathers the poor or the minority. According to lecture notes, slum is a fully packed and dense area that the poor living in unfinished or deteriorated housings. The living environment is usually way worse than else where. A slum usually lacks reliable sanitation services, supply of clean water, reliable electricity, law enforcement and other basic services.
    There are a lot of reasons that drove the slum formations. One of the reasons is that the poor wanted to minimize the transportation cost back and forth the urban city for work so they started moving to the city. However, they could not afford the house rent so they moved into the abandon towers or shanty houses.
    Another reason is that the population in developing countries boosted in a short period of time. Supply of houses could not meet the demand of houses which made the rent raised. Then, the poorer had no choices but to move into slums.
    Bad governance is also a contributing factor to slum formation. The government might have failed to recognize the needs of the poor and include them into their urban planning. They might have ignored the poor’s perspective, what they can afford and what the consequences will be if poor are not in the plan. One example would be that the government pushed urbanization to occur but they ignored the consequences of all people living in the city. They did not recognize that the rent will go up and the poor may not be able to afford it. There was not a comprehensive plan to deal with the possible problems may bring out. Therefore, bad governance is responsible for slum formation.
    From the video we watched in class, I learned that we can always make things better with our own hands. Take the Tower of David in Venezuela as an example, they made a small community within the tower, they have grocery store, basketball courts and they let people drive within the tower to let it act like an elevator. It inspired me that if we want to change something and let ourselves to control back our own life, we need to do it practically. They are at the basic level in Maslow Hierarchy of Needs which is trying to give themselves a basic life. In the meanwhile, we are at a higher level on that chart. We can go on strike to fight for what we wants, for example to ban nuclear plant. We should be like the Venezuelan, to do it practically but not just using our mouth to try to change something.

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  3. Environmental Justice

    Environmental justice is a general term to describe the unjust relationship between natural environments and certain populations – their community’s locations and accessibilities to basic resources. Some of the factors that influence these unfair habitats are racism, poverty, and economic planning. For example, in the United States many residential communities who resides by people of colors and poor families are located right next to oil refineries and other industries that pollute their environments. As a result of polluted environments – of soil, air, and water – many people in those communities suffer from asthma, metal intoxications, carcinogens, and many other illnesses. Unfortunately, many of these communities often lack financial resources to fight these companies, and they also do not have alternate housing options. For example, is Kettleman City located in the heart of California’s San Joaquin Valley. Many low-income Spanish-speaking farmworkers residents suffered from diseases resulted from water contamination with benzene and arsenic from a Chemical Waste Management landfill that was located close to their town [2].

    I believe that Locally Unwanted Land Uses (LULUs) and its somewhat irresponsible development is purposely situated around disadvantage communities. Noticeably, large corporations and government authorities choose to locate environmentally harmful facilities close to poor populations and racial minorities, because they recognize it will be more difficult for these communities to fight against them; and it also allows them to operate with less regulations. Fortunately, these days there is a greater awareness about environmental injustice practices, and through assistance of non-profit organizations more disadvantage communities are able to fight against harmful violators and win.

    Slums are type of housing that are often located in fast-growing metropolitan areas, found in developing countries. People who live in slums are often poor or have a very low-income, migrate workers, and people who got pushed out or been evicted from their home and had no alternate housing option. The main causes for slum expansion relates to fast population growth, lack of affordable low-income housing and poor planning, and the modern economy which continually cutting jobs due to technological advancement. According to Habitat of Humanity, United Kingdom, there are currently 1.6 billion people who lives in unsuitable housing; 1 in every 7 people in the world currently lives in a slum, and by 2030, 1 in every 4 will live in slum. In developing countries, already 1 in 3 urban residents live in slum [1]. Sadly, many local municipalities and governments undermined efforts to remove, reduce or upgrade slums into better housing option for the poor, due to political interests. For example, China’s leader Xi Jinping decided to reduce the growing population in Beijing, and in 2017 he ordered to demolish tens of thousands of homes occupied by migrant workers. Similar to Chine, many other slum’s residents around the globe experiencing unfair treatment from their local authorities.

    People who reside in slums, are vulnerable to harsh weather conditions due to unsuitable housing, poor sanitary, infectious and chronic diseases, and lack of resources such as clean water, nutritious food, and electricity. Children are often dropping out of schools, which later makes it difficult to pursue better lives outside the slum. Studies shows that as a result of global warming many families living in slums have to cope with an increasing number of storms, and therefore are forced to rebuild their homes every year – sometimes several times a year. In addition, slums are often lack of sewage, and as a result it causes diseases to spread quickly. This sanitary issue creates an environmental hazard for large populations who are often unable to access sufficient health clinics to get treatment in time.

    If poor communities will continue to be treated unfairly and remain unprotected by their local municipalities and governments, then slum population will grow and it will cost more to maintain and support its communities. In order to resolve this crisis, countries must invest in upgrading slums instead of evicting people. Land must be secured and protected for the purpose of secured living. Schools must be developed and maintained, and health clinic should be developed for providing accessibility for basic healthcare services.

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  4. Environmental injustice occurs when policy and laws encourages pollution places where low income or people of color reside. Sometimes these policies are not meant to affect minorities but due to land degradation many poor people are forced to live in this unwanted area. As the inner city is again inhabited by the wealthy many poor families are forced to move into industrialized areas that happen to have housing surrounding it. Take for example the Antioch area. The surrounding areas are those of manufacturing and chemical plants. In the horizon you can see many power substations that happen to be next to housing. Historically this area has been a farming and industrial community. It was not until the housing market spreading outward from San Francisco that you saw homes being built next to industry. In my opinion this situation is a combination of economic and social issues. The value of land is what made it attractive for people to spread into this area. The majority of those people are people of color who have moved out into the area. In the Bay Area we can find an example of when pollution moves into an already low income area. PG&E had two power plants in the southeast side of San Francisco. One in the Dogpatch area and the other in the Hunter’s Point area. Both neighborhoods had been primarily occupied by African Americans. The PG&E plant in Hunter’s Point was one of the dirtiest plants in the state. Both plants have been blamed for the high asthma rate, cancer and infant mortality in the immediate surrounding areas. The housing immediately surrounding the plants where Naval I believe if the power plants were not present in these communities once the Navy left the neighborhood would not have experienced so much poverty. Once the pollution began no one wanted to live near the plant and this in turn drove down property values. Since the closing and clean up of the power plant, one of the largest developers has laid out plans to create a massive community center in one of the city’s once most polluted sites. To conclude I believe LULU being created due to demographics whether its race or class.
    Slums are created as a result of basic human need for survival. When a government has failed the majority of its citizens slums are created. Slums are made up of unconventional housing methods whether its self made or an abandoned building. Many slums lack education and law enforcement. Although life in the slum is sub par for any person it is what the person living in it calls home. Deep cultural, social and economic ties can be found within the slums. Despite the hardship and suffering in the slums most people make the best out of their situations. Many slums develop their own city centers, governance and even places of worship. Its is not the lack if civility of why people are in the slums but the failure of government. Some may offer solutions for a better life is to just move the people out of the slum but doing so is removing the persons from their livelihood. To express one’s self at his/her own discretion is a basic need of human life. It may appear to be a “no-brainer” to move the inhabitants of the slums into better housing but doing this we are taking away their basic need. Instead of removal understanding the slums and improving its living condition is a way to keep people meeting their basics need of expression and choice. Providing quality education to the children in the slums is a way governments can empower residences to advance economically in society. Not having basic civil service such as health care and education creates a vicious cycle that can keep a family in poverty for generations. The solution is not to displace the slums but to embrace them as a part of society as a whole. Once embraced and nutured the slum could revert to a humane place to raise a decent family and no longer be a slum.

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  5. Environmental justice came about in the early 1980’s, the term itself refers to a social movement that focuses on fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens. This movement came about due to the rising injustice that was affecting the health of many communities. An environmental justice area is a census tract where 20 percent or more individuals live in poverty, and/or 30 percent or more of the population is minority. There are many factors that contribute to growing environmental injustice and with the current administration the list continues to grow.
    Due to increasing pollution and degradation that has been a drastic drop in land values of the affected areas. As a result lower income individuals may be more likely to move into this area since it is more affordable. In a similar situation, companies may choose to move their factories into low income areas since the price of land is lower in these environmental justice areas. This creates a issue for the low income and minority communities that call the land home by creating more pollution from production and distribution of products as a result of these factories. To contribute further to the injustice, environmental law enforcement is not as strict in disadvantaged communities. Residents of these communities have no one to help protect them from the companies that are destroying the neighborhoods they live in, and due to lack of resources, cannot afford to move themselves or family to less polluted land.
    Locally unwanted land uses are prevalent in disadvantaged communities because of the lack of enforcement described in the previous paragraph. The question remains on whether lulu’s occur in disadvantaged communities or if the composition of the communities changed to result in a concentration of people of color. In my own opinion i believe that locally unwanted land laws changed the dynamic of the communities resulting in a concentration of different groups of people leaving because of all the introduced pollution, and others moving in because of the cheaper prices that came with the pollution. But i also believe that over time these wanted uses for land were targeted towards minority communities because the government knew that there was nothing the members of disadvantaged communities could prevent the destruction of their neighborhoods
    As seen in the lecture notes, a slum is a highly populated urban residential area consisting mostly of closely-packed, decrepit housing units in a situation of deteriorated or incomplete infrastructure, inhabited primarily by impoverished persons. Slums lack the basic sanitation services, often do not have clean sources of water, lack electricity, and many of the other basic necessities that are required for the basic life functions. Slums form as a result of the lack of affordable infrastructure, typically in larger cities. Abandoned by their own government, impoverished individuals take matters into their own hands by constructing their own environments from scratch with what they are able to find.
    In some cases individuals take advantage of what is already available to them like in Caracas, Venezuela where the “Tower of David” stands. This tower is an abandoned skyscraper that stands 45 stories tall. The project was came to a halt mid way through construction and was left abandoned for many years until people decided to start moving in. Families began to construct walls and barriers to create makeshift apartments inside of the empty high-rise. As more and more people started to move in basic amenities by the residents themselves to create a self sustaining community within this tower. Markets and convenience stores popped up throughout the building as well as barber shops, and even a rooftop gym that was available for all residents to use.
    It is remarkable how communities can be created from next to nothing, and thrive in the absence of government control. Many lessons can be learned from slums around the world that would help to better how we think about and organize our communities today. We can learn how to re-purpose industrial building or areas into housing for individuals that have nowhere else to go. Also we can recycle more materials than we currently do in order to reduce the carbon footprint of a neighborhood. Most importantly we could have a greater community contribution when it comes to making the best decisions about the environment they reside in, because after all no one know the community better than those who live there. Instead of looking down upon slums because of their physical appearance, we should learn from and work with them in order for us to benefit as a whole.


  6. Environmental injustice has a lot of things that are incorporated into it. Some things that identify with environmental injustice is the inability to have access to clean water and clean air to communities that are low income and communities that are of color in the united states. Environmental injustice can be described as environmental discrimination that affects minorities, where there communities have more pollution, less proper housing.

    One example of environmental injustice that happened in America is putting waste sights next to communities of people of color. A lot of superfund sights are located in places that are predominately black communities; superfund sites are areas of land that has been contaminated by hazardous waste, or waste that can cause humans harm. Putting these waste sites in areas like this makes it unfair to the people living around them. The people living around these sites are presented with the ability to get affected by these areas; this does not give the people justice. This is a form of discrimination against people of color living around these sites.

    Another form of discrimination that happened that leads to environmental injustice is the availability of clean water. Having clean water should be a right to all people in all countries, but especially in first world developed countries. We have the technology, so we should be able to give all people access to clean water. This is not the case; there have been multiple examples of big oil companies polluting waterways of areas that have poor communities. This pollution causes the prices of homes to decline, which then cause more poor people to move into this area. It’s a spiraling effect that makes poor people most susceptible to more discrimination though the pollution of the water in their communities.

    A similar thing happens with air pollution where oil refineries are located in areas where there are poorer communities, and they release air pollution in areas surrounding them. This is environmental injustice because it affects people of lower income communities. The land around this area tends to cost less and this attracts more people to communities that have exposure to less clean air or water, and tend to be more polluted.

    Environmental injustice is usually caused by discriminating on peoples communities by pollution, that being either water or air, or putting dumping hazardous dumping sites in low income communities. This land ends up not being wanted by most people and becomes like a niche for poor people.
    Again this land is where there are more poor people because this land doesn’t provide much good to people that can afford better areas of inhabitancy. So these areas give rise to poor communities that come from environmental discrimination. This is how slums form, in places where people don’t want to live, because its polluted or there isn’t access to clean water.
    Slums can’t be all seen negatively because they are the outcome of poor communities trying to survive. They are a stand of resiliency., because the poor are finding shelter, even if they are forced to live here. Slums have there own way of working, and example would be the Tower of David in Venezuela. This is an incomplete form of architecture, a tower that ran out of money that became a slum community.

    The tower is home to thousands of residence, and there are even stores included in this tower. It shows that this unwanted land was taken up by the poor and made into something incredible, a community that works together and makes the best of its unwanted land. The environmental injustice is the fact that these people don’t have clean water or a proper architecture, but they make dues.


  7. Environmental Justice

    Environmental injustice takes place when the quality of infrastructures and the environment is based on class or race, and low income minority groups are provided with communities that aren’t healthy or allow them to thrive. There could be pollutants present in the community and deteriorating infrastractures that risk the health of the members in the communities. Environmental injustices affects people on a global scale but the effects can be especially prevalent in those communities that hold a lower value. Areas become contaminated with hazardous waste because of the convenience of trash being closer to their area of low income than others. Most of the waste is generated by factories and when factories are abandoned, the chemicals that stay behind continue to contaminate the area.
    There is a correlation between the placement of factories and low income neighborhoods and the races it affects because of the availability of jobs that factories create for these low income neighborhoods and wouldn’t be as in demand in a high income neighborhood where more people have a college degree. However there have been analysis of the pattern between the placement of factories and predominantly black areas. Upon inspection the city of richmond was analyzed and there seemed to be a pattern in the allocation of people in certain parts and the factories being built and most locals say it is hard to ignore racial factors with this evidence. The low income neighborhoods reside in the western and southern parts of Richmond where it also happens to be the most impacted areas of industry.
    Environmental risks are disproportional throughout cities that are predominantly poor and of the minority. Locally unwanted land is the reason behind this. The locally unwanted land makes it the perfect host for people of a poor and minority background. The socioeconomics behind the land usage demonstrate facilities like wastes facilities and factories being drawing factor for these communities because of the job aspect of it. This causes minority and poor groups to be the most affected by the environmental injustice because they are in areas of poor conditions and high levels of contamination.
    Paul Mohai of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment and Robin Saha of the University of Montana have studied the environmental injustice for years but still aren’t able to pinpoint whether the allocation of these industries has lead them to be low income minority neighborhoods or if they are being strategically placed in areas that are already more prone to being low income and minority group based and for this reason alone. To understand the connection between the two they conducted a longitudinal and national study that analyzes data for a span of 30 years in regards to the placing of hazardous areas and poor minority communities. The researchers found “a consistent pattern over a 30-year period of placing hazardous waste facilities in neighborhoods where poor people and people of color live.” There is a relationship between the racial discrimination of zoning and the housing market and the inequalities that come from it. Low income neighborhoods are seen as easily approachable because they bare low resistance due to their. Also analysis revealed that hazardous waste sites are more likely to be built in neighborhoods that use to be predominantly white but are now full of minority residents.
    Environmental justice advocates state that race can be a clear indicator of where hazardous waste locations will be placed and show they have a higher burden of this environmental injustice than those of white people. The Clinton administration addressed the issue of low income populations and the environmental injustices that affect them. They made it so federal agencies addressed the environmental injustices and how they affected certain populations in numerous ways. Agencies were directed to improve their programs so they were addressing the inequality and to take into consideration the inclusion of populations and not deny them of benefits due to their race or class. The EPA formed the Environmental Equity program to help regulate the change between agencies. Different agencies have their programs to ensure that racism is addressed within their premises and can be brought to discussion.


  8. Frank Delgado
    ENVS 300
    Professor Amir Gohar
    5 May 2018
    Environmental Justice
    Environmental justice is an interesting crossover between social justice and environmental causes. It proves that there is indeed a correlation between locally unwanted land uses and poor or disenfranchised communities. According to various statistics, race is the biggest factor in regards to environmental justice. According to an NAACP report, “78 percent of African Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant, as compared to 56 percent of non-Hispanic whites. 71 percent of African Americans live in counties that violate federal air pollution standards, as compared to 58 percent of the white population. Asthma affects African Americans at a 36 percent higher rate of incidence than whites. African Americans are hospitalized for asthma at three times the rate of whites and die of asthma at twice the rate of whites.” (Haynes, 2012). These figures alone are staggering. Considering that African-Americans make up just above 12% of the population of this country, these numbers are far off of what they should be.
    Knowing this information, the question of if locally unwanted land uses are easily implemented in areas with people of color or low economic stature versus if concentrations of disenfranchised peoples increase as property value lowers around these “LULU’s,” is posed. I think that there is a case for both options, however is begins with the former option. I believe that it is far more difficult to put say, a coal power plant, in a white upper middle class community. It may be easier to put one in a community of people with mixed composition. Once this power plant gets put in a mixed or lower income community, the people who can afford to move are more likely to move. This would likely include many white upper or middle class citizens as a result of inherent economic injustice in this country. What would follow is property value being driven down and more people of color or low income people moving in to the neighborhood. This whole situation is reminiscent of a positive feedback loop. As a trigger affects an area and causes a stimulus, this stimulus then enhances the initial effect as an influx of crime and drug problems may follow people who are on the low end of the economic spectrum, driving property value lower, and so on.
    Slums are unusually unique in their nature and form for different reasons than the traditional urban area. They usually form in less developed countries that may or may not have existing infrastructure. They primarily form however due to an excessive need for housing to support a large population in an area where the local authorities do not have the means to provide such needs. This results in a situation in which thousands of people are left without places to live and must find their own ways. Some slums depend on existing infrastructure, such as the 45 story tall Tower of David, an unfinished uninhabited skyscraper that now hosts a large group of people who have nowhere else to go. There are also cases in which the slum inhabitants create their own environment such as Mokoko in Nigeria. Slums are very dirty and dangerous, but they often bustle with culture and the design of the inhabitant-made slums reflects this. Slums are not an ideal scenario and unfortunately many still stand today, but they do serve as examples of human ingenuity and perseverance at the very least.


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