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.
Low-income, immigrant, and communities of color experience more environmental burdens than whiter, wealthier neighborhoods. Having strong environmental justice legislation would make a significant difference in these neighborhoods, in part by simply ensuring residents have a voice in what happens in their own communities.
Environmental justice requires reversing and repairing the impacts of decades of environmental racism. Residents of environmental justice communities are the most likely to bear the burdens polluting industries and infrastructure, while having to fight for their share of resources we all need — healthy homes, schools, transit, food, and open space.
For decades, low income, immigrant, and communities of color across the Commonwealth have disproportionately born the burdens of air pollution from power plants, congested freeways, and industrial activity. After generations of disenfranchisement, what would having strong environmental justice protections mean for these communities?
Decades of environmental injustices won’t be addressed without strong legislation to drive change. Local organizations are working to reduce burdens on environmental justice communities, but it’s up to the Massachusetts legislature to redress decades of wrongs and put our state on a path to a more equitable future.