Joey Munley: Environmental Politics


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Joey Munley: Environmental Politics

  1. 1. Environmental Inequality and Global Politics Joey Munley
  2. 2. Abstract <ul><li>The relationship between global politics, environmental regulations, and how these policies have affected the ways of dealing with hazardous waste situations. </li></ul>
  3. 3. How are they connected? <ul><li>Global Politics </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental regulations </li></ul><ul><li>Hazardous areas </li></ul><ul><li>Low income areas </li></ul>
  4. 4. What neighborhoods do chemical and toxic fires happen in? <ul><li>There is a reason as to why these fires happen in low income areas… </li></ul><ul><li>You never hear about a rich high income area having a hazardous area near them </li></ul><ul><li>Why are environmental dangers always located in the low income areas? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Research <ul><li>Two key things I wanted to research on this topic were.. </li></ul><ul><li>How does global politics, along with race, gender, and class affect the way countries address environmental regulations </li></ul><ul><li>Also, whether or not environmental justice is improving conditions globally and here in the United States. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Regulations <ul><li>Global politics have a large impact on environmental regulations </li></ul><ul><li>Also they impact how injustice is perpetuated through policies and how people are governed </li></ul>
  7. 7. Case of poor regulations <ul><li>One of the major disasters that deals with regulations and politics, would be the disaster at Bhopal, India. </li></ul><ul><li>1984 the Union Carbide plant that made pesticides began leaking the poison gas methyl isocyanine into the town of Bhopal, India. </li></ul><ul><li>The leak occurred in the middle of the night killing 3000 people instantly, and injured 400,000 people </li></ul>
  8. 8. Union Carbide
  9. 9. Why were so many killed? <ul><li>Lethal combination of global environmental policies, politics and lack of regulation </li></ul><ul><li>This plant was located in a poor section of the country, and built too close to a large population center (800,000) </li></ul><ul><li>Would this have happened with strict regulations? Would the plant exist in this area if it had strict regulations? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Coincidence? <ul><li>Disasters like this occur more frequently in third world and developing countries </li></ul><ul><li>These countries lack infrastructure but are eager to build and maintain industrial plants </li></ul><ul><li>Multinational companies spend their investment and capital investing in plants in these countries and often ignore safety regulations. (Cassels, 1993). </li></ul>
  11. 11. Competitive Advantage <ul><li>These ‘growing’ countries give these companies a competitive advantage because they offer </li></ul><ul><li>Labor, access to the markets, and lower operating costs </li></ul><ul><li>Producing products at a cheaper rate, companies cut corners and have little concern about safety regulations </li></ul>
  12. 13. Is there a link? <ul><li>There appears to be a strong link between racism and inequality in environmental regulation </li></ul><ul><li>Minority and/or low income communities are disproportionately overburdened with hazardous waste sites, incinerators, petrochemical plants, lead contamination, dirty air and contaminated drinking water </li></ul>
  13. 15. <ul><li>During my research, I found that companies and governments do target poor communities of color and do so both locally and globally </li></ul><ul><li>Communities of color are often targeted by firms processing potentially hazardous materials </li></ul><ul><li>These areas usually consist of people looking for work, and willing to work for low wages, with minimal political resistance </li></ul>
  14. 16. Highly cited research <ul><li>One the most highly cited research in this area involved a study called the Commission on Racial Justice of the United Church of Christ (1987). </li></ul><ul><li>This study focused on the racial and socioeconomic characteristics of people living near commercial hazardous waste sites. </li></ul><ul><li>The study looked at the relationship between race the location of hazardous waste facilities including incinerators, transfer station and disposal sites. (Brown. 1994) </li></ul>
  15. 17. Results <ul><li>It showed that in communities housing a commercial toxic waste site, the percentage of minorities was double (24% vs. 12%) the minority percentage of communities without a waste site. </li></ul><ul><li>“Percentage of minority population proved to be the strongest predictor of communities with the greatest number of waste facilities and the largest landfills” (Brown, 1994). </li></ul>
  16. 18. To answer my questions <ul><li>It is clear on my first question that global and local politics play a significant role in environmental hazards. </li></ul><ul><li>It is also evident that race, gender and class are significant factors in garnering a disproportionate amount of risk to hazardous situations. </li></ul>
  17. 19. Is it improving? <ul><li>Conditions are getting worse </li></ul><ul><li>In 2003, the Center for Disease control tested 9000 individuals across the United States and found pesticides in 100% of their bodies (Pellow, 2005). </li></ul>
  18. 20. Summary of results <ul><li>Race, gender, and class play a significant role, as well as global politics </li></ul><ul><li>Conditions are getting worse, not better </li></ul>
  19. 21. References <ul><li>Brown, P. 1995. Race, Class, and Environmental Health: A Review and Analysis of the Literature. Environmental Research. No. 69, 15-30. </li></ul><ul><li>Cassels, Jaime. 1993. The Uncertain Promise of Law: Lessons from Bhopal. University of Toronto Press Incorporated. Toronto, CN. </li></ul><ul><li>Pellow, David. 2005. Social Inequities and Environmental Conflict. Paper presented at the Environmental Politics Colloquium. Berkeley, CA. </li></ul>