Massachusetts has an environmental justice problem
WCAI - 01/20/2015
While the high-profile deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of police have drawn national attention, there’s a more insidious threat facing communities of color across the country – environmental pollution. In recent weeks, some environmentalists have drawn a connection, giving double meaning to slogans like “Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe.”
“Literally, because of the concentration of polluting facilities, people can’t breathe,” says Dr. Daniel Faber, professor of sociology at Northeastern University and director of the Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative. “Black and Latino Americans breathe different air than white Americans.”
Faber says there’s a widespread preconceived notion that because Massachusetts has some of the nation’s most progressive environmental policies, environmental justice isn’t a problem. It was precisely that assumption that prompted Faber to investigate how environmental line up with race, language, and income in the Commonwealth.