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What is environmental racism? News | News
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What is environmental racism? News | News


Environmental racism has many effects on minority communities.

This year’s Black History Month theme is Black Health and Wellness. The environment is a major factor in the health and well-being of people of color. According to a report, environmental racism is when people of color are subject to adisproportionate amount of environmental damage due to institutional or governmental policies, decisions, and regulations.”Guide created by Iowa State Library.

On the other hand, environmental justice is achieved when all people have access to natural resources and a clean environment. The Hunger Games is a fiction work that deals with environmental justice themes. The Hunger Games depicts a future North American population living under harsh conditions, while the ruling class lives in luxury. Citizens are forced to risk their lives to gain more resources.

People who are more able to take part in the political process have greater power to stop undesirable facilities being built near their homes. The Not In My Backyard (or NIMBY) phenomenon is when people refuse to support facilities that are not needed in their own backyard. Robert Bullard is often referred as the father of environmental Justice and holds a doctorate in Sociology from Iowa State University. His influential book, Dumping in Dixie describes the environmental justice movement in detail and the disproportionate exposure to pollution that Black communities have to environmental pollutants.

Lack of access is one example of environmental racism. The Flint Water Crisis is a prime example of an environmental racism situation, as documented by the 2016 report. New York Times. Flint residents, who are overwhelmingly Black, were struck by lead poisoning from the Flint River, and became ill.

Like Flint, Iowa is also experiencing poor water quality due to synthetic fertilizer runoff. Synthetic fertilizers can travel down the Mississippi River to affect the Gulf of Mexico environment. These fertilizers cause algae to grow, which can kill marine wildlife and deprive water of oxygen. Algal blooms can also occur in summer in Iowa. They can cause health problems for people and animals who swim in lakes.

Chris Morris, a second year PhD candidate majoring in rural sociology with a focus on sustainable agriculture, presented a range of practices that can help to reduce the negative effects of unsustainable farming. He was 15 years old and worked for the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. No-till farming, covering crops to keep soil in position, rotating between more than two crops, planting prairie strips to prevent runoff and erosion, and using livestock to fertilize the fields are all sustainable practices.

We as taxpayers were paying the government to subsidise agriculture that isn’t in the best interests of the farmer and not in best interest for the consumer. We could subsidise sustainable agriculture. Farmers want to do the right things. Morris stated that farmers care about their land.

Iowa’s environmental racism can also manifest in poor air quality. The website is not written in an environmental racism perspective. provides an example of one person’s experience living next to a facility that decreases air quality.

According to an article, people of color are more likely than whites to live in areas of poor air quality and pollution. They are at greater risk of developing COVID. air quality is a problem in Iowa, especially in areas where people live and work near farms.

Morris stated that the air quality near confined animal feeding operation, CAFOs (concentrated animals feeding operations), is very poor before you reach the Mississippi River.”The people who work in those barns, that’s again, the hired labor tend not to be white, they tend be Hispanic often.

According to the USDA Economic Research Service57% of American farm workers are from Mexico.

Morris said that unsustainable farming methods are the result if legislation. Farmers have followed government advice to protect their livelihoods and receive subsidies.

Morris stated that farmers are forced to do what they are doing because of the economic system. They must maximize their yields and minimize their losses to get a fair price or risk losing the farm. If farming is all they know, it’s like losing their identity. The government created the two-crop system because these were the main crops it would subsidize. So government subsidies come into play.”

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