The problem of Racial profiling in America does not only relate to issues like police brutality .It also plays a role in determining environmental policies regarding land use, zoning and regulations. This affects minority groups such as African Americans, Latinos, and low-income communities that are more likely to live next to coal-fired power plants or other highly polluting facilities because of policies made by the government that has an unfair effect on these communities. Such policies are lobbied by corporate companies that are looking to increase their profits. The surrounding communities must bare toxic contamination coming from these facilities. People living in such communities tend to get sick and get illnesses because of the pollution coming from the nearby polluting facilities.
This type of situation is referred to as environmental racism. it is the intentional targeting of communities of racial minorities as places to locate solid waste management facilities. it also involves the exclusion of people of color from environmental policy making and land-use decisions.
According to a Tufts University, Global Development And Environment Institute study by Rachel Massey titled ‘Environmental Justice :Income, Race And Health’, Protecting the environment is often viewed like a luxury, people only care about the environment if they are financially stable and have some free time they could spare. Wealthy people and poor race minorities are put in different situations when faced with protecting the environment. The goal of conserving the earth should not just focus on protecting the animals and plants . The safety and health of all human communities should be brought into the focus when talking about saving the earth. The way advocacy for saving the earth should be revolutionized Environmentalism is a movement that seeks to protect and preserve the earth by protecting the species of animals and plants as well as adopting sustainable practices regarding the limited amounts of resources such as water, wood, and oil . Rachel carson’s book titled ‘silent spring’ helped bring this philosophy of caring for the earth and how the earth should be shared among the different life forms into the spotlight.
The book told about how there is a harmful trend through the use of pesticides on the environment. Rachel carson accused the chemical industry of spreading false information on their practices and criticize public officials for accepting this without questioning the officials. Environmentalism does not take into account the well being of all human communities when advocating for environmental health policies. It only advocates for the wellbeing of animal and plant species and restricting the use of non renewable resources. Racial minorities have tried to protest against this unequal impact of environmental hazards on their communities. Institutional racism plays a huge role in racial minorities getting equal treatment on environmental policies. Governments,business, and other institutions put a unfair effect on racial minorities having equal access to quality of good, services, and opportunities.
An example of this occurring is the flint michigan water crisis. In 2014, lead had spread into the water supply of residents of Flint michigan. The majority of the residents were black. The flint michigan residents complained about this issue to the city and state officials but the officials denied any serious problems occurring for months. According to a national public radio article by Merrit Kennedy, During the years of june 2012 through april 2013, flint officials tried to look into whether the city can save money by switching the current water provider to building its own pipeline to connect to the karegnondi water authority (KWA). The city used the flint river as a source of water while the pipeline was being built. City officials did not treat the flint river water to make sure it did not cause corrosion in the pipes and instead waited to see what effect the flint river water would have to the pipes.
(see figure 1 )Figure 1. Picture of a flint lead service line. This was studied by researchers at the university of michigan and confirmed that a lack of corrosion controlling chemicals in the water caused the flint water crisis.Olson, T., & Ellis, B. (2017, July 28).
‘Missing lead’ in Flint water pipes confirms cause of crisis. Retrieved January 22, 2018, from http://ns.umich.edu/new/releases/24983-missing-lead-in-flint-water-pipes-confirms-cause-of-crisisSituations like these where racial minorities are faced with a environmental hazard and are denied help, prompt them to advocate for themselves by protesting. A similar instinct accord here in the town of chapel road in the rogers- eubanks neighborhood. Before a landfill was placed, the streams were full of organisms like fish and the forest. In 1972, the chapel hill board of commissioners chose this neighborhood to host the orange county regional landfill. The major and the town officials at the time promised recreational facilities and increased infrastructure if the residents allowed the landfill in the neighborhood.
These agreements were never fulfilled.In the early 80’s despite community protest, the waste programs were expanded. In 2007, the rogers-eubanks neighborhood community founded the the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association (RENA). According to a book by Emily Eidenier Pearce titlied ‘Rogers Road’, During the years 1950-1970, the population around the area of orange county was increasing and more than 2,00 new homes were being built in the rogers road community (see figure 2). Figure 2. Picture of a bar graph showing the number of housing units built in the rogers road neighborhood between the years 1939-1979Pearce, E. E. (2009).
Rogers Road. North Carolina: E. Eidenier PearceAs a result of this growing population, a new concern on the waste management and the capacity of the current land fills were being brought up.
This concern on the increase in waste includes trash and recycling (see figure 3)Figure 3. Picture of a Bar graph showing the amount of recycling in tons in orange county from the years 1986-1992.Pearce, E. E. (2009). Rogers Road.
North Carolina: E. Eidenier PearceThe orange county board of county commissioners (BOCC), discussed how to take care of the rising waste crisis as the existing landfills were quickly reaching capacity. On november 2nd, 1970, the mention of a new countywide landfill was made in a orange county BOCC meeting . The growing issue of current landfills reaching capacity and creating a new landfill operation to serve the growing population of orange county was presented to the commissioners. The mayor of hillsborough at the time, Fred Cates, Said that the current landfill operation was experiencing financial difficulty because the facility was being used to a greater extent that had been anticipated.
The orange county BOCC moved forward to investigate new sites to solve the issue of waste management in both hillsborough and UNC landfills. Mark Burnham, who is from the research triangle regional planning commission, came to the board and presented copies of a paper on the matter of solid waste. He said that the board of health would make a survey of the county which will include lands available for a landfill area, cost factors and other pertinent info on the subject of solid waste. The search for a landfill site by the state health department had lead the country taking an option to purchase 200 acres of land near the site of camp chestnut ridge and chestnut ridge church (see figure 4). Figure 4. Picture of a drawn out map of the rogers road neighborhood showing the proposed landfill site property which at the time was owned by R.G. Hancock Pearce, E.
E. (2009). Rogers Road. North Carolina: E. Eidenier PearceThis caused a lot of controversy because camps for children were hosted in the chestnut ridge site. Keith glover, a camp official of the united methodist church, said that they were concerned with the safety of the children since the camp operated on a year round basis. He later went on to say that their camp had a long range interest in providing the camp as a natural environment facility and cited that public schools in the area have been using the camp for natural study.
On may 18th, the news of orange reported that the state board of health had approved the chestnut ridge site. It was hoped that the landfill in the chestnut ridge site would solve the waste management problem. Later on the landfill site was moved from the chestnut ridge site to the eubanks road site. A 500 member organization that included individuals who lived near the eubanks rod site called the new hope improvement association, protested against a landfill being built in eubanks road site. The new hope improvement association filed a legal complaint against the country’s actions as a last effort to stop the construction of a landfill on eubanks road. The new hope improvement association asked the court to prevent the county from buying the tract of land for the landfill and from constructing the landfill in their community until the state board of health had reviewed other evidence related to the effects of the unlined landfill on local water supplies. The other parties denied the allegations on procedural grounds, others without explanation, and claimed others were irrelevant to the case. They asked the court to dismiss the case and judge cooper agreed.
Advocating for the earth and its species does not often include the issue Racial minorities face. They are more likely to live next to toxic factories as a result of government and business institutions placing landfills and other polluting facilities in their neighborhoods and as a result from the pollution coming from these facilities, suffer various illness .