Posted 07 May 2011, by Robert Bullard, OpEdNews, opednews.com
The Environmental Justice Movement has made tremendous gains over the past four decades. Many of these milestones and accomplishments are chronicled in the 2002 Environmental Justice Timeline-Milestones 1964-2002 and more recently in The State of Environmental Justice Since Summit II — 2002-2011 , a 2011 report that covers the most recent decade of the national movement. More than 100 studies now link racism to worse health. Similarly, some 200 environmental studies also have shown race and class disparities. One of the most important indicators of an individual’s health is one’s zip code or street address.
Eliminating environmental health and racial disparities will make us a much stronger nation as a whole. Mounting evidence reveals that race and place matter and both impact health. As we as a nation grow smarter , greener, and more sustainable, we also need to grow healthier and more just to address longstanding disparities and inequalities that result from social determinants of health.
In our new book, Environmental Health and Racial Equity in the United States: Building Environmentally Just, Sustainable and Livable Communities , published in April by the American Public Health Association Press (APHA),my colleagues and I offer a “20-point plan” for addressing environmental health disparities–a problem that disproportionately impacts low-income families and people of color. The strategies emerged from a review and synthesis of three decades of research, practice and public policy. They are offered in an effort to build, support and strengthen the work around environmental justice, health and racial equity into the future.
Strategy 1: Support efforts of the larger Environmental Justice Movement and its member organizations to “re-invent” themselves, refine their message, and articulate a proactive vision.
Strategy 2: Assist organizations build economically vibrant and socially just communities with emphasis on health and well-being of families and children.
Strategy 3: Support programs and strategies that strengthen the capacity of organizations to analyze and solve place-focused problems at the national, regional, statewide, and local community level.
Strategy 4: Foster strong collaborations, alliances, and multigenerational networking.
Strategy 6: Invest in work that intersects environmental health and reproductive health.
Strategy 7: Invest in long-term campaigns and programming.
Strategy 8: Broaden the base of foundations and government funding of environmental justice and health equity work that extends beyond funding “silos.”
Strategy 9: Help local governments, particularly public health departments, build and prioritize healthy communities initiatives.
Strategy 10: Strengthen the collaborative work on climate justice, public health, and vulnerable communities.
Strategy 11: Leverage public and private resources to support translations of environmental health and racial equity research.
Strategy 12: Increase organization capacity and access to scientific data, policy analysis, and communications expertise.
Strategy 13: Document and disseminate “success stories.”
Strategy 14: Help frame proactive communications and media campaigns.
Strategy 15: Maintain a focus on racial equity and eliminating environmental and health disparities.
Strategy 16: Help align formal and informal systems that support environmental justice, healthy communities, and racial equity and promote optimal health outcomes for vulnerable families and children.
Strategy 17: Support movement for “toxic-free” neighborhoods and healthy schools.
Strategy 18: Increase the percentage of grant dollars devoted to advocacy, community organizing, and civic engagement.
Strategy 19: Increase general operating support and multi-year grants .
Strategy 20: Invest in community-university partnerships (CUPs) that advance the new “corporate environmental justice performance scorecard” and related Health Impact Assessment (HIA) tools that assess the potential human health risk of toxic emissions at industrial sites.