The birth of the modern day environmental justice movement is credited to the1982 landfill protest in Warren County, North Carolina. The Warren County protest marked the first instance of an environmental protest by people of color that garnered widespread national attention.
According to the EPA, environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. The EPA formed the Office of Environmental Justice in 1992. The offices creates programs for communities to utilize to promote an equitable environment and provides suggested guidelines to the EPA.
Environmental justice askS an individual to recognize and act on the environmental inequalities happening beyond their immediate community.
Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions and Environmental Justice
Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions believes that all communities deserve environmental equity. FACS is working to bring more representation into our organization to better understand issues across Northern Virginia. This starts with who FACS reaches out to, events FACS attends, and how FACS communicates environmental issues. FACS is dedicated to representing environmental issues that are faced by low-income and minority communities in Fairfax County by working alongside them and amplifying their voice.
FACS is starting a Fairfax County Weatherization Program. This is a step towards addressing environmental equity in the Fairfax County Community. The goal of the program is to train congregation members to both identify and provide weatherization to their households. Reducing the amount of energy and water in a residence reduces utility costs, and improves the health, comfort and safety of the residents. There is a specific focus to partner with congregations along the Route One Corridor in Fairfax County. This is an area of condensed low-income housing that traditionally lacks energy efficiencies. FACS will provide supplies and resources free of charge as well as a Spanish translator so that all community members have access to the trainings. FACS believes this program will be a first step in working towards environmental justice in Fairfax County.
Interested in learning more? Check out a variety of resources to understand different topics in the environmental justice movement!
Love Canal Revisited : Race, Class, and Gender in Environmental Activism by: Elizabeth Blum
Black, White, and Green: Farmers Markets, Race, and the Green Economy by: Alison Hope Alkon
Mayah’s Lot by Charlie La Greca & Rebecca Bratspies