Environmental justice is the opposite of environmental racism, in which poor communities of color are disproportionately burdened by environmental health hazards. Environmental racism takes many forms throughout the world; in the U.S., one example is the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Other local campaigns may focus on land use policies, such as zoning practices that allow factories and other sources of pollution to be built near homes and schools. Environmental racism is so pervasive in American institutions that the question of racist intent is irrelevant; poor people of color suffer from environmentally racist decisions regardless of decision makers’ intentions.
In developing parts of the world, the fight for environmental justice is a fight against the exploitation of natural resources that sustain entire regions. This is not limited to environmental health hazards. As the planet warms, Arctic ice melts, thus destroying animal habitats and robbing the Inuit people of their ability to subsist off of their natural surroundings. As sea level rises, low-lying island nations such as Kiribati and Tuvalu are expected to be fully submerged under the Pacific Ocean, even if the increase in global temperature is limited to 2°C as agreed upon in the Paris Climate Agreement. Extreme weather patterns may not discriminate by race or class, but the resources necessary to adapt to a changing climate are not evenly distributed.
So where does Greenstand come in?
At Greenstand, we believe that the ability to participate in the global economy is key to building resilient communities. We recognize that in previously colonized regions, indigenous groups were removed from the lifestyles they had practiced for generations and their lands were exploited for raw materials. These groups have literally been marginalized from the global economy. Greenstand allows farmers in the developing world to use their generational knowledge to become stewards of their land while earning an income. As individuals, families, and eventually whole communities lift themselves out of poverty, they will gain the freedom to participate in the global economy on their own terms. This could include international trade, participation in the emerging carbon offset market, or simply increased purchasing power.
We are on a mission to help people help the planet, and we are committed to supporting sustainable development and anti-racism every step of the way.
Communications Assistant, Greenstand