The heart of environmental justice is ensuring that we all have equal access to power when it comes to decisions that directly affect our lives. CLF connected with two of our Massachusetts-based partners to talk about their vision for a community where residents feel empowered to shape the future, and what it would mean for environmental and climate protections to be just.
For decades, low-income, immigrant, and communities of color across New England have been overburdened by air pollution from power plants, congested highways, and industrial facilities. CLF connected with two of our Massachusetts-based partners to discuss what needs to change to relieve these burdens and how racism contributes to environmental justice inequities.
It’s tempting to boil down good health solely to factors like medical care, healthy food, and exercise. However, many other dynamics, like historic redlining and racial segregation, along with substandard housing, air pollution, crumbling infrastructure, and lack of access to jobs, healthy food, and green space, all play a role. Perhaps no one understands the interplay of these factors better than those who work in healthcare, including Dr. Thea James, who serves as Boston Medical Center’s Associate Chief Medical Officer, Vice President of Mission, and Director of the Violence Prevention.
On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the Baker administration announced that Massachusetts will make reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 legally binding under the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act. However, the state’s landmark climate law still needs a clear path forward to reach that goal.