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environmental justiceInvestigating the Problem

In the 1980’s, a group of African-Americans living in North Carolina protested the government’s plan to add more pollution to their neighborhood. A group of people researched pollution in different neighborhoods across the United States and discovered that, even though we’re all supposed to be treated equally, mostly African Americans and Latinos were living in the highest polluted neighborhoods. Many people were upset to learn of this, since the color of our skin should not determine how polluted or clean our neighborhood is!

People began to call this unfair treatment, environmental racism. That means that some communities or neighborhoods where mostly people of color live are polluted by more industries than communities where most of the residents are white. Concerned citizens realized this wasn’t fair, so they have been working hard to make sure all neighborhoods are healthy places and less polluted. They helped create a worldwide movement called Environmental Justice.

Environmental Justice means that all people, no matter where they live, how much money they have, or what color their skin is, have equal rights to live, work, and play in healthy environments and make decisions about their environments.

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