University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
The Student Teachers Anti-Racism Society (STARS) promotes anti-racism education at the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan through the support of the College. We work collaboratively to understand, identify, and address individual and systemic racism and its interlocking forms of oppression based on gender, sexuality, ability, class, religion and other socially constructed categories. We believe that anti-racist and decolonizing education, when woven together, can create humanizing and emancipatory change for everyone.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Environmental Racism and Justice

According to Teaching Tolerance: Environmental racism is a term that was coined by Rev. Benjamin Chavis, who conducted a study which found that communities of color are more likely to bear the brunt of environmental hazards than are white communities. That study found that these environmental disparities occurred because of lax enforcement of environmental rules and regulations, as well as the placement of landfills and dumps and the disposal of hazardous waste in minority neighborhoods. The problem is compounded by the fact that members of affected communities are seldom found on city councils, planning committees or regulatory boards.
Teaching Tolerance offers several Pre K - grade 12 US based lesson plans that can be used to initiate student studies on environmental racism in Canada.
Introducing Kids to the Idea of Environmental Racism (Pre K - grade 5): http://www.tolerance.org/activity/introducing-kids-idea-environmental-raci
Environmental Justice (grades 3 - 12): http://www.tolerance.org/activity/environmental-justice
Reporting on Environmental Racism (grades 9 - 12): http://www.tolerance.org/activity/reporting-environmental-racism
Environmental racism in Canada continues to displace and oppress First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples, as well as other racially oppressed communities. Leave a comment to share examples of environmental racism in Canada with your colleagues and visit the Indigenous Environmental Network (http://www.ienearth.org/).

1. Environmental justice affirms the sacredness of Mother Earth, ecological unity and the interdependence of all species, and the right to be free from ecological destruction.
2. Environmental justice demands that public policy be based on mutual respect and justice for all peoples, free from any form of discrimination or bias.
3. Environmental justice mandates the right to ethical, balanced and responsible uses of land and renewable resources in the interest of a sustainable planet for humans and other living things.
4. Environmental justice calls for universal protection from nuclear testing, extraction, production and disposal of toxic/hazardous wastes and poisons and nuclear testing that threaten the fundamental right to clean air, land, water, and food.
5. Environmental justice affirms the fundamental right to political, economic, cultural and environmental self-determination of all peoples.
6. Environmental justice demands the cessation of the production of all toxins, hazardous wastes, and radioactive materials, and that all past and current producers be held strictly accountable to the people for detoxification and the containment at the point of production.
7. Environmental justice demands the right to participate as equal partners at every level of decision-making including needs assessment, planning, implementation, enforcement and evaluation.
8. Environmental justice affirms the right of all workers to a safe and healthy work environment, without being forced to choose between an unsafe livelihood and unemployment. It also affirms the right of those who work at home to be free from environmental hazards.
9. Environmental justice protects the right of victims of environmental injustice to receive full compensation and reparations for damages as well as quality health care.
10. Environmental justice considers governmental acts of environmental injustice a violation of international law, the Universal Declaration On Human Rights, and the United Nations Convention on Genocide.
11. Environmental justice must recognize a special legal and natural relationship of Native Peoples to the U.S. government through treaties, agreements, compacts, and covenants affirming sovereignty and self-determination.
(to read more see: http://www.ejrc.cau.edu/princej.html at the Environmental Justice Resource Centre http://www.ejrc.cau.edu/Welcome.html)

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