Within the reading, every time I read an example of environmental injustice…I asked myself “Is the end gain really worth the risk? Is the fact that a few thousand bugs will be killed worth thousands of people, animals, and several ecosystems having their health put in jeopardy?” Would you agree? The section about Hurricane Katrina was especially frustrating to read because the black residents were so poor that they had no options; they were living in the most susceptible areas but could not afford to move or even stay elsewhere when danger was near. The point of many of these stories is that the poor are limited and the whites have the advantage. I think that the people who have the advantage should use some of their power and resources to help out the less fortunate.
The fact that people had to organize themselves and campaign for people to clean up the Agent Orange contamination is sad. I’m happy they got together to fight for a good cause, but it seems almost as though toxic areas that supposedly“do not need” immediate clean up are left behind. Then, the housing areas around them then become less expensive, which seems nice for the poor when you look at the short term outcome: they have shelter! But the long term health affects aren’t worth it. I found a website that lists many contaminated military facilities and it lists the problems found at each of them. Although some areas have been tended to, others are still sitting there with the same problems they probably had twenty plus years ago! You can check out the list of facilities at the following link: http://www.gmasw.com/ao_bases.htm
I think that one of the most powerful ways to treat this problem is to raise awareness. The reading says that many see that discrimination is just a harsh reality…but does it have to be? Can we make a happier and healthier reality? One quote that stood out to me was “people of faith are called to treat all other creatures-human or others-justly” (p 171). How can we get people of faith (and those not of faith) to practice this?
For any of you that liked this reading, I highly recommend the movie Erin Brockovich! It is based on a true story about a law suit involving a community whose homes only have access to toxic water due to a nearby company. It demonstrates the oppression of innocent people and the manipulation by businesses and displays how drastically it affects the community’s health. I own it on DVD if you’d like to borrow it. 🙂