With plummeting resources, soaring temperatures and an economy in need of a major overhaul, sustainable development is widely considered to be the need of the hour. The United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) defined it as “the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs” (Brundtland Commission, 1987).
In this report, the focus will be on the concept of environmental racism and environmental justice. ‘Just sustainability’ is the egalitarian concept of sustainable development (Jacobs, 1999). It addresses what was referred to as the ‘equity deficit’ of environmental sustainability (Agyeman, 2005). Environmental racism …show more content…
Environmental Protection Agency defines environmental justice as: "The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, colour, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. Fair treatment means that no group of people, including racial, ethnic, or socio-economic groups should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local, and tribal programs and policies" (USEPA, …show more content…
The industry is able to reap the benefits of cheaper land rates and utilities in such areas and mitigate their own risks by dumping the waste near the economically weak communities, who have little or no say in the setting up of the plants or the way they are run due to their low standing. In this way, economic might becomes economic blackmail. This needs to be curbed (Oyewole, 2001).
Environmental racism is a very real issue that affects the entire world today. The deliberate and malicious mistreatment of the poorer and weaker communities by large industries and governments caused by the low levels of possible retaliation is a menace that needs to be curbed as early as possible. Only then can sustainability be called just and equitable.
The environmental justice movement emerged in response to environmental inequities, threats to public health, unequal protection, differential enforcement, and disparate treatment received by the poor and people of colour. Poverty and environmental degradation are intricately linked and take a heavy toll on billions of people in developing and industrialized countries alike. Thus, any search for sustainable development must address the root causes of both poverty and pollution and seek solutions to this double