Recycling Protects People
Would you want everybody’s garbage in your backyard? Often, landfills are put in neighborhoods where people of color or with low incomes live. These people then have to deal with the unpleasant and unhealthy effects of dumps in their neighborhood, and it’s not fair. Environmental Justice means that all people—regardless of race or income—should be able to live, work, and play in healthy places. When we reduce, reuse and recycle things, we help keep stuff out of landfills and help protect people. We also use fewer natural resources like trees, oil, bauxite and coal. When we log or mine natural areas all over the world for the things we use, it can hurt communities that live nearby. For instance, indigenous peoples in the Ecuadorian rainforest often suffer great damage due to oil mining that contaminates their land, rivers and streams with poisonous chemicals. And, in the Southeastern United States, Appalachian communities can suffer from flooding caused by coal mining. So as we can see, reducing, reusing and recycling protects both people and nature!