When bad water, air pollution, and land degradation exist, local people
suffer, especially minorities and low-income groups. And most often, big
corporate interests and politics determine the action or non-action that local
and state governmental authorities take to manage and/or remedy an issue.
Many of our concerned national earth-care organizations such as Natural Resource Defense
Council, Earth Justice, Sierra Club, and others are prime leaders in the ongoing fight with legal
challenges and actions to hold authorities accountable. While big environmental problems
exist nationally, small local victories often go un-noticed in the larger scheme of things.
One such victory at this intersection of environmental and racial justice as portrayed by the
In a ground-breaking first, the Department of Justice (DOJ) used civil rights laws to resolve an environmental justice matter ordering Lowndes County Alabama, to stop targeting black residents and address their septic system needs. For years, state officials mismanaged sewage disposal in black neighborhoods and turned a blind eye to a hookworm outbreak created by inadequate access to sanitation. Earth Justice filed a complaint in 2018. The DOJ commented, ‘Today starts a new chapter for residents of Lowndes county Alabama, who have endured health dangers, indignities and racial injustice for far too long.’
This is but one example of what local people and actionable organizations can accomplish to
improve the environment.