What is Environmental Justice?

Environmental justice is a movement that seeks to address the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on marginalized communities.

Environmental justice is a movement that seeks to address the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on marginalized communities. It aims to ensure that everyone, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, has equal access to a clean and healthy environment. To achieve this goal, the Principles of Environmental Justice were developed in 1991 at the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. These principles provide a framework for understanding and addressing environmental injustice, and they continue to guide the environmental justice movement today.

The first principle of environmental justice is the right to a clean environment. This means that everyone has the right to live, work, and play in a safe and healthy environment, free from environmental hazards like pollution and toxic waste. The second principle is the right to be informed. This means that everyone has the right to know about environmental hazards in their community and to participate in decisions that affect their health and well-being.

The third principle is the right to participate in decision-making. This means that everyone has the right to be involved in the decisions that affect their community, from the planning of new development projects to the enforcement of environmental regulations. The fourth principle is the right to access environmental justice. This means that everyone has the right to legal and administrative remedies when their rights to a clean and healthy environment are violated.

The remaining principles of environmental justice include the right to self-determination, the right to economic justice, the right to cultural and environmental diversity, the right to sustainable development, the right to environmental education, the right to health, the right to environmental restoration, the right to precautionary action, the right to address cumulative impacts, the right to environmental security, and the right to ecological sustainability.

Together, these principles provide a comprehensive framework for understanding and addressing environmental injustice, and they serve as a roadmap for the environmental justice movement as it continues to fight for a more just and sustainable world.