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End Environmental Racism!
Biden creates Office of Environmental Justice
Today, President Biden signed an Executive Order to enable environmental justice for all. After almost ignoring the Ohio train derailment, the Biden-Harris Administration is suddenly worried about communities facing persistent environmental injustice through toxic pollution, underinvestment in infrastructure and critical services. They say that these disproportionate environmental harms are not due to poverty but racial discrimination.
Fundamentally, the message is correct - all people, regardless of race, background, income, ability, tribal affiliation or zip code should breath clean air, drink clean water and therefore have reduced risks of asthma and cancer. However, by embedding environmental justice into the work of federal agencies, it will only increase poverty by adding red tape and bureaucracy, with little actual impact on the environment or the lives of the people it is intended to help.
In fact by making clear that the pursuit of environmental justice is a duty of all executive branch agencies and incorporating that into their missions, environmental disasters may be more likely to occur. Instead of focussing on their jobs and allocating appropriate resources where needed, time, attention and funds will be diverted away in the pursuit of meeting environmental targets.
It is likely that incidents such as the Ohio derailment occur more frequently due to failing infrastructure. And this will only accelerate if funds are diverted away from maintenance and upkeep to wishy washy environmental justice departments. And we all know where the money will really end up, in some rich person’s bank account who has multiple jets but claims that sea levels will kill us all in 10 years.
The Executive Order says that it recognises the reality that racism is a fundamental driver of environmental injustice. But then it directs agencies to identify and address gaps in science, data and research related to environmental justice. So environmental racism is definitely a thing but we just don’t have the data on it yet, so we will ensure that agencies find the data we are looking for, to prove us correct.
I don’t want pollution, I don’t want the environment destroyed and I don’t want any group of people to be disproportionately affected. But what I also don’t want is to divert attention away from the real problems and actually exacerbate the situation, further impoverishing communities whilst making the rich richer.
The New York Times says that research has shown that people most affected by environmental hazards are largely nonwhite and poor. Surely, the nonwhite bit is irrelevant? Are nonwhites being targeted by environmental hazards or are they more likely to be poorer and living in areas likely to be near pollution?
Why the constant divisive language? Is it still environmental racism if a poor white person gets affected by an environmental hazard?
The paper says that new studies suggest that when it comes to fine particulate matter, or soot, black Americans carry a higher burden than non-Hispanic whites or Asians, regardless of income levels. Again, how does this work? How does a rich black American breathe in more fine particulate matter or soot than a rich white person? Does the rich black person decide to live in polluted areas? No of course not. Perhaps someone can fill me in.
Let me be clear, if a group is being disproportionally affected purely due to their skin colour, then I am all for measures to stop it. However, to me it doesn’t make sense but feel free to change my mind.
According to the New York Times, when announcing the Executive Order, Mr. Biden is expected to portray the Republicans as extremists who support the fossil fuel industry at the expense of public health and the planet. The problem is, right now, without fossil fuels public health, along with most things, will be destroyed.
Fossil fuels are not extreme, they have lifted billions of people out of poverty, removed most of us from the feudal system and have created the conditions in which we can invent cleaner energy. But for now, there is not enough clean energy and if we stop using fossil fuels we will degenerate backwards, making the situation exponentially worse.
If you really want to end environmental racism, lift people out of poverty and it will disappear.
On a side note, the following is a reason why I can’t ever use ChatGPT for assistance. I asked it to check my article and it responded with:
Anyway, at least you know I’m writing my own articles!
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