[act-ma] Environmental justice (April 28)

Murphydalzell murphydalzell at aol.com
Wed Apr 11 12:18:20 PDT 2012


Saturday, April 28,  noon to 2:00 pm

Falmouth public library, 300 Main Street, Falmouth, MA

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs will meet with citizens to listen to their environmental justice concerns.   Although this  meeting is designed, primarily, for Cape Cod residents,  all Massachusetts people are invited.    Meetings about environmental justice have already taken place in Holyoke,  Boston, and New Bedford.   A  citizens conference on environmental justice  for New England is  being developed for Worcester, for  June 9th.

The environmental justice movement  traces  its beginnings  to  the peasant struggles,  to the  slave revolts,  and  to   the acts of resistance by native peoples,  that took place  in rural  and wilderness  areas  before the 20th century.     As the modern conservation movement developed during the 20th century,  low-income people, and  the  members  of ethnic and racial minority groups,   were often pushed aside or ignored by wealthy preservationists.   Urban residents were exposed to high levels of pollution at work and in crowded neighborhoods.      During the  1980s,  advocates for social justice created  the modern environmental justice movement.     Human rights issues  received special attention.

In Massachusetts,  environmental justice groups have raised "energy justice" concerns and   concerns about the use of toxic chemicals.     Wastewater management and the protection of community drinking water supplies is a major issue  in rural areas.     Affordable housing and the development of adequate systems for public transportation are  frequently  mentioned in environmental justice discussions.     Traditional economic activities like farming,   commercial fishing, and shellfishing  are  important for many low-income people, including Native Americans.     In cities and suburban areas,   families want  public  parks that are safe and accessible.

The goal of "energy justice" work  is to provide all people with an adequate supply of power that is safe, affordable,  and  sustainable.     Like food and water, people need to consume energy in order to survive.    Conservationists often  ask families to reduce their energy use.   However,   many low-income families need to increase their  energy consumption in order to live with some measure of dignity.      The homeless are the poorest of the poor in the energy economy.   Fuel assistance programs are needed  in low-income communities.    Landlords need to improve  their rental units, in order to reduce energy waste.     Conservationists often ignore this reality.

The April 28th listening session on Cape Cod will provide citizens with the opportunity to talk with state government workers about environmental justice.     The event has been endorsed  by Occupy Falmouth.     For more information about the April 28th meeting, contact Bob Murphy.    murphydalzell at aol.com.

(Submitted by Bob Murphy)

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