[act-ma] Environmental justice (April 28)
murphydalzell at aol.com
Wed Apr 11 12:18:20 PDT 2012
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE MEETING
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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