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 organization Earthjustice:

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. Earthjustice 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.