Earth Day: Environmental Justice

25 Apr

Earth Day Banner

When I first saw this video years ago it had a profound effect on the way I thought about environmental issues.

Equally profound was the day I sat in a lecture looking at pictures from a textile factory in Botswana that manufactured clothes for a prominent U.S company. They were dumping their dye water into a stream that was used as a water source.

The jeans I wore that day? Yep. Same brand.

It is an uncomfortable truth that here in the U.S. and across the globe it is often the poor and disempowered who suffer the most from a degrading environment. The reasons for this are complex and closely intertwined with the causes and effects of poverty. The solutions are equally hazy.


One environmentalist that understood the connection between poverty and the environment was Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai. Dr. Maathai founded Kenya’s Greenbelt Movement, an organization promoting conservation, women’s rights, and sustainable development through the planting of trees. I am inspired by Dr. Maathai’s dedication to environmental and social justice and the bravery she showed fighting for the well being of women.

If you are driven by causes of social justice the most direct way you can act is by making donations or petitioning for organizations that fight for causes of environmental justice. Yet it is empowering to realize that the more you lower your impact on the planet the more you could be improving the life of someone who lives on it right now.


M Mead Quote 2

P.S. For a crash course on the Environmental Justice Movement check out these links:
Teaching Tolerance; Southern Poverty Law Center
NRDC:The Environmental Justice Movement
United Church of Christ: Environmental Justice Information


2 Responses to “Earth Day: Environmental Justice”


  1. Earth Day: And Beyond! | Without a Map - April 29, 2013

    […] of the reasons I thought of were to save money, to help someone else, because you just love the planet, or just because it’s the cool thing to […]

  2. Earth Day: All In One Place | Without a Map - August 27, 2014

    […] For the Busy Schedule April 24, Earth Day: Room By Room in the Laundry Room April 25, EArth Day: Environmental Justice April 26, Earth Day: Apartment Alternatives April 27, Earth Day: For the Love of Nature April 28, […]

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