structural racism

As Protests Rage Over George Floyd’s Death, Climate Activists Embrace Racial Justice

Read time: 11 mins
Black Lives Matter Rally in Eugene, Oregon, May 31, 2020

By Ilana Cohen, Evelyn Nieves, Judy Fahys, Marianne Lavelle, and James Bruggers, InsideClimate News. This story originally appeared in InsideClimate News and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

When New York Communities for Change helped lead a demonstration of 500 on Monday in Brooklyn to protest George Floyd's killing in Minneapolis, the grassroots group's activism spoke to a long-standing link between police violence against African Americans and environmental justice.

Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of UPROSE, Brooklyn's oldest Latino community-based organization, said she considers showing up to fight police brutality and racial violence integral to her climate change activism. 

Minority And Low-Income Communities Are Targeted For Hazardous Waste Sites, Research Confirms

Read time: 3 mins

Decades of research show a clear pattern of racial and socioeconomic discrimination when it comes to siting facilities for hazardous waste disposal, polluting industrial plants and other land uses that are disproportionately located in minority and low-income communities.

But what’s been less clear is whether the placement of these facilities was deliberate on the part of the facilities’ owners and public policymakers, or if the noxious facilities came first, leading to disproportionately higher concentrations of low-income residents and minorities moving into the surrounding community.

In order to test both theories, Paul Mohai of the University of Michigan and Robin Saha of the University of Montana analyzed 30 years of demographic data about the placement of 319 commercial hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities.

By looking at the demographic composition of neighborhoods at the time each hazardous waste facility was built and comparing that with the demographic changes that occurred after the facility began operation, they determined that existing minority and low-income communities were, without doubt, targeted.

Subscribe to structural racism