What is Environmental Justice?

Environmental Justice

The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines EJ as follows:

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. EPA has this goal for all communities and persons across this Nation. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

The United States Department of Transportation defines three fundamental EJ principles for the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration as follows:

  1. To avoid, minimize, or mitigate disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects, including social and economic effects, on minority populations and low-income populations.
  2. To ensure the full and fair participation by all potentially affected communities in the transportation decision-making process.
  3. To prevent the denial of, reduction in, or significant delay in the receipt of benefits by minority and low-income populations.

The South African Environmental Justice Networking Forum definition is

Environmental justice is about social transformation directed towards meeting basic human needs and enhancing our quality of life—economic quality, health care, housing, human rights, environmental protection, and democracy. In linking environmental and social justice issues the environmental justice approach seeks to challenge the abuse of power which results in poor people having to suffer the effects of environmental damage caused by the greed of others.

Other definitions include equitable distribution of environmental risks and benefits; fair and meaningful participation in environmental decision-making; recognition of community ways of life, local knowledge, and cultural difference; and the capability of communities and individuals to function and flourish in society.
– From Wikipedia. Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_justice#Definition