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ARTICLES ON ENVIRONMENTAL AND CLIMATE JUSTICE

Governor Brown is Not Green

California EJ Communities Bear Brunt of Bad Policies
By Eric K. Arnold

Governor Brown at 2014 press conference on budget allocations. Courtsey of business.ca.gov.At the Paris climate summit, California Governor Jerry Brown played up his reputation as a progressive visionary—one of America’s most experienced politicians on environmental issues. He met with world leaders, did a photo-op with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and gave a speech to graduate students about climate awareness, saying, “we’re talking about a different kind of life, a life not based on oil, and a life not based on so much emphasis on the individual as opposed to the common good.”1

Farmworkers—The Basis and Bottom of the Food Chain

Events in recent years have triggered a reawakening across the United States of a movement that acknowledges the importance of worker rights and of protecting the livelihoods of this country’s working class. Historically, however, one group of workers has routinely been excluded from the gains made by the larger labor movement, i.e. farmworkers—the people who weed, pick, harvest, and pack, often in 100 degree weather, while routinely being exposed to hazardous chemicals.

Approximately 700,000 farmworkers reside in California at any given time. Farm employment is unstable and the average farmworker is employed for only seven months of the year (nine months in California). For female workers the employment season is even shorter. Jobs are scarce, even during high season. In California, about 350,000 jobs are available from April to October and 275,000 from November to March. Historically, migrant workers returned home during the winter months. However, with the increased militarization of the border, this practice has become harder and many migrants remain in the U.S. out of fear even in the rainy season when they have little or no income. And although a majority of farmworkers are male, women and children are increasingly crossing the border and entering the workforce, as men can no longer maintain a seasonal migration.

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Transforming a Movement (1991

Dana AlstonReprinted from Race, Poverty & the Environment (RP&E) 1992.

By Dana Alston 

Rarely do people get the opportunity to participate in historic events. But each of the 300 African, Latino, Native and Asian Americans from all 50 states who gathered for the first National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in late October must have left with a sense that the atmosphere in which environmental issues are debated and resolved is changed for good. And for the better.

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A Long Way to Go

Excerpts from a panel discussion at The New School in NYC.

Ana Baptista
Dr. Ana Baptista grew up in the Ironbound community in Newark, New Jersey, and was the director of Environmental and Planning Programs for the Ironbound Community Corporation where she oversaw a wide range of environmental justice, community development and community-based planning for the Ironbound community. She is Associate Director of the Tishman Environment and Design Center, Chair of Environmental Policy & Sustainability Management at The New School, and Assistant Professor of Professional Practice.

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Redlining Trauma

By Mindy Fullilove
From a panel discussion moderated by Michelle DePass.

Dr. Mindy Fullilove is Professor of Urban Policy and Health at The New School and a board-certified psychiatrist who examines links between the environment and mental health. Using psychology of place, Dr. Fullilove has examined the mental health effects of such environmental processes as violence, rebuilding, segregation, urban renewal and mismanaged toxins.

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Environmental Justice — 25 Years and Counting

World Social Forum in Porto Alegre. cc. 2004 Raquel Tannuri Santana
Excerpt from the introduction to a panel discussion by Michelle DePass.

The First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit held in October 1991, in Washington, DC, drafted and adopted 17 Principles of Environmental Justice that have served as a defining document for the grassroots movement for environmental justice. (See page 82.) On the 25th Anniversary of the Summit, the Tishman Environment and Design Center of The New School held a panel discussion on the themes of the Principles in New York City. In this issue we present excerpts from that discussion and two pieces from RP&E published in 1992.

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The Exodus of the People of Mossville

March for Mossville on Sasol on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. © 2016 Liana Lopez @lianalisaa

By Rebecca O. Johnson

Mossville, a small community in Southwest Louisiana, was settled over 220 years ago by 12 Black families led by the freedman Jim Moss. At its founding in 1790, the area was still controlled by France and while Blacks weren’t fully enfranchised as citizens, the French government did allow African Americans to own land. Mossville wasn’t allowed to incorporate as a village or town, but it was one of those African American places that governed itself, schooled its children, grew food, fished and built businesses. A century and a half later, Mossville has survived annexation by the United States, the Civil War and Jim Crow rule of the 20th century. But today, the town stands on the brink of disappearing, wiped away by multinational petrochemical companies.

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