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Tamara Steger

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  • 1. Environmental Justice : some history and theory Tamara Steger Dept of Environmental Sciences and Policy Central European University Budapest, Hungary
  • 2. Environmental Justice in the US
    • Anti-toxics movement and Love Canal: primarily women who had no previous activism experience.
    • Warren County protests
    • Civil rights movement
    • Focus on health
  • 3. Love Canal
    • Originally a planned industrial model community by William T. Love.
    • Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corporation bought it in 1942 and dumped 22000 tons of mixed chemical waste into Love Canal.
    • Land sold to Niagara Falls school board in 1953 for one dollar.School erected in 1955, and suburban blue collar families moved into housing complex.
  • 4. Love Canal Disaster
    • Heavy rain and snowfall in 1975
    • Hooker landfill subsides
    • 421 different kinds of chemicals identified in water, soil, and air.
    • 1978 the New York Department of Health Commissioner, Robert Whalen declares the area a health hazard and babies and pregnant mothers should immediately leave.
  • 5. Love Canal: public meeting in 1978
    • See www.library.buffalo.edu
  • 6. Bean v. Southwestern Waste Management, 1979
    • First application of civil rights law to siting of waste facility.
    • Protest involving m iddle income African American community in Houston.
  • 7. North Carolina 1978: illegal dumping Warren County 1982 : PCB landfill siting protest
    • Contractor for Ward Transformer Company didnt want to pay for EPA approved recycling.
    • Secretly d umped approximately 12,850 gallons of PCB- laden oil at night along rural highways .
    • State planned to bury 400,000 cubic yards of soil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in Warren County .
    • 500 arrests
  • 8. Warren County
    • Residents Block PCB Landfill Delivery Trucks, 1982. Photo by Jenny Labalme.
  • 9. Waste, Race and Class
    • 3 of 4 hazardous waste landfills in Southern states in predominantly African American communities ( U.S. General Accounting Office (1983) study, Siting of Hazardous Waste Landfills and Their Correlation With Racial and Economic Status of Surrounding Communities. )
    • Race --NOT poverty, land values, or home ownership-- strongly correlated with location of facilities . ( Commission for Racial Justice (1987) to produce Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States )
    • Poorer people are exposed to greater health hazards in their homes, and where they work and play than more affluent members of society (Bryant & Mohai, 1992; Bullard, 1994a)
  • 10.
    • Community coalition for environmental justice, Seattle, WA
  • 11. Connecticut: www.environmental-justice.org
  • 12. Factories in UK more likely located in poorer communities
    • 662 factories are found in areas with average household income of less than £15,000.
    • 5 factories are found in areas with average household income above £30,000
    • In London, over 90% of polluting factories are in areas with below average income
    • In the North East, over 80% of polluting factories are in areas with below average income.
    • More factories, higher poverty.
    • (See Friends of the Earth UK)
  • 13. Environmental Justice in CEE
    • Workshops bringing together human rights and environmental activists, academics, and lawyers.
    • Coalition for Environmental Justice
    • Case study report: access to water and waste treatment, flood risk, exposure to hazards.
    • Transatlantic Initiative for Environmental Justice: Coalition for EJ and US EJ activists
    • Collaborative, small-scale projects
  • 14. Struggles for environmental justice all over the world
    • Struggles against dam issues in India and China
    • Mining issues in South America
    • Climate change justice issues in Africa
  • 15. Evolution of Environmental Movement
    • Social justice, civil rights, and environmental movements
    • Anti-globalization
    • Just Sustainability (see J. Agyeman’s work): white middle class environmental movement and environmental justice movement
    • Death of environmentalism? Need for coalition forming