As much as hurricanes Katrina and Maria upended African American and Latinx families, the landfall of the coronavirus brings a gale of another order. This Category 5 of infectious disease packs the power to level communities already battered from environmental, economic, and health injustice. If response and relief efforts fail to adequately factor in existing disparities, the current pandemic threatens a knockout punch to the American Dream.
February 19, 2020 10:20 AM EDT
One year after the Flint Water Crisis I was invited to participate in a water rights session at a conference hosted by the US Human Rights Network in Austin, Texas in 2015. The reason I was at the conference was to promote efforts by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to encourage scientists to shine a light on how science intersects with human rights, in the United States as well as in the context of international development. My plan was to sit at an information booth and share my stories about water quality projects I spearheaded in communities in Bangladesh, Colombia, and the Philippines. I did not expect to be thrown into conversations that made me reexamine how scientists use their knowledge as a public good. Read more >
February 7, 2020 10:00 AM EDT
Imagine you live next to a coal-fired power plant. Near the power plant, you may have seen heavy machinery dumping loads of greyish substance into an open pit or a pond. You learn that the greyish stuff is called coal ash, a substance that’s chockful of toxic heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, and selenium – all of which are cancer-causing agents – and that 140 million tons of coal ash is produced in the US every year. You may notice that serious health issues are arising in your community, so you can’t help but wonder: is there a connection between your community’s health problems and the dumping of this coal ash? Is this stuff getting into your drinking water?
February 3, 2020 10:00 AM EDT
Most people know that cars, trucks, and buses from our highways and city streets are a significant source of harmful air pollution. While this pollution impacts all communities in the state to some degree, Minnesotans who face the greatest exposure to transportation pollution are those who live near highways, along major freight corridors, and in urban areas.
January 29, 2020 10:02 AM EDT
“All my life I’ve been sick and tired. Now I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
One of the leaders of the civil rights movement, Fannie Lou Hamer, famously said these words during the 1964 Democratic National Convention to protest the injustices that the Black community had endured in their fight for the right to vote. In the 1980s and 1990s, her words became a rallying cry for a burgeoning grassroots movement that protested the dumping of environmental hazards on the doorsteps of marginalized communities, called the environmental justice movement. Read more >