Environmental justice first received national attention in the 1970s, when the citizens of a predominately African American community in Warren County, North Carolina, used their bodies to block the state government from dumping toxic waste in a landfill that could contaminate their water. Since then, many communities and their advocates have pushed for the rights of families of lower income and/or color to live in safe, healthy environments.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines Environmental Justice as 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. Unfortunately, many communities are the victims of serious environmental injustices. Areas containing lower income communities and/or communities of color are often targeted as sites for the most damaging energy extraction and industrial practices.
Read Rubicon blog “The Social Impact of Waste” by Nate Morris, Founder and CEO of Rubicon.
Americans generate trash at a rate of 4.9 pounds per person per day. Multiplied by 330 million, that is a lot of trash. All of that trash has to go somewhere. For most of us, putting trash to the curb is the end of the story.
Although recycling and sustainability efforts have made significant strides in recent years, roughly 50% of the almost 300 million tons of waste material generated each year in the United States still gets shipped to one of the country's 3,000 landfills. A truck comes to carry it away, and then it is out of sight and out of mind. But for the people living in the shadow of a landfill, that is only the beginning of the story.
For people living near a landfill, waste is a part of daily life. The sight of towering garbage, the sound of compactors and excavators, the smell of rotting waste, the negative impact on property values, and the detrimental effects on public health combine into a terrifying impact. A landfill is a constant, overpowering presence that translates into stunted lives and missed opportunities. Continue to read Rubicon blog.