What is environmental justice?

How is it different from environmentalism?


Environmental justice is the response to environmental racism. It is a movement to ensure the fair treatment and protection of all people and their access to clean air, water, land, healthy food, and transportation. Environmental justice creates safe and healthy environments where we live, work, learn, play, and pray. The movement organizes around 17 Environmental Justice Principles

Environmental justice is a more specific approach than environmentalism, which is more generally about protecting the environment. Often, people think the environment only relates to national parks, forests, or wildlife. But it’s important that we don’t neglect people and our relationship to our environment. We use the term environmental justice because we are considering the natural and built environment. It means our community. It includes the daily surrounding areas that people in our communities interact with—your local park, your sidewalks and bus stops, your grocery stores, and more. Because we consider all parts of our environment, we have to consider how all types of social injustices prevent people from living in safe and healthy environments. Our framework for environmental justice intersects with racial, gender, disability, housing, transportation, and climate justice.

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