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Deep Disparities in Environmental and Health Risks

DEP data show a direct relationship between pollution impacts and race and income. Poor and minority communities are disproportionately impacted, compared to white wealthy communities. The poorer and higher the percentage of minority residents, the worse the environmental impacts. The DEP's own data confirm longstanding claims made by environmental justice advocates. Source: NJDEP

DEP data show a direct relationship between pollution impacts and race and income. Poor and minority communities are disproportionately impacted, compared to white wealthy communities. The poorer and higher the percentage of minority residents, the worse the environmental impacts. The DEP's own data confirm longstanding claims made by environmental justice advocates. Source: NJDEP

Thanks to the Occupy Wall Street Movement and global scale protests, the media spotlight is finally beginning to shine on the critical issue of deep inequality in wealth, income, and opportunity in America today.

So, we thought we’d take this opportunity to repost data about another severe inequality: the poor and minorities bear disproportionate health risks from pollution.

The same corporate power and abuses that are driving income and wealth inequality are poisoning the earth.

While the 1% are able to escape much of this pollution by living in far away upscale suburban green and increasingly isolated gated communities, the fact of the matter is that we’re all in this together.

We all breath the same air, drink the same water, and rely on the same ecosystems for survival.

We all love parks, forests, and healthy streams and rivers to play in.

We all must rely on adequate and healthy food.

We all suffer the same catastrophic effects of global warming.

There is no way out – the 1% can’t buy any stairways to heaven.

We all OCCUPY EARTH!

[Update: 11/11/11 – Naomi Klein better explains major sources of the problems here:

Half of the problem is that progressives—their hands full with soaring unemployment and multiple wars—tend to assume that the big green groups have the climate issue covered. The other half is that many of those big green groups have avoided, with phobic precision, any serious debate on the blindingly obvious roots of the climate crisis: globalization, deregulation and contemporary capitalism’s quest for perpetual growth (the same forces that are responsible for the destruction of the rest of the economy). The result is that those taking on the failures of capitalism and those fighting for climate action remain two solitudes, with the small but valiant climate justice movement—drawing the connections between racism, inequality and environmental vulnerability—stringing up a few swaying bridges between them.


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