ENVS203: Discussion


How do you think governments may be able to tackle the issues of environmental injustices? What could be done internationally? Brainstorm some ideas that you think would work in our current society. Also, state what you think has not worked in the past.


Environmental injustices needs to be addressed by international regulation. National governments need to address these issues and do not send waste away so it will become another country’s problem (like the toxic waste dumb from Trafigura in Africa) Companies need to be held accountable for their waste and consumers need to be aware what happens with the products after they throw them away. I think currently there is a lack of awareness and a “not in my backyard” mentality. I remember that the Trafigura tried to make port in several harbors before it just dumped its cargo in Africa. Also there needs to be an international tribunal for cases when there are environmental disasters like the Shell oil spill in Nigeria. Companies and governments need to be held accountable. I don’t think this is happening enough now. A stronger international legal system and community is needed. And understanding that we all live on one planet is also needed in the public and commercial sphere. I don’t know how we are going to get there before we reached the point of no return.


Environmental injustices are synonymous with low socioeconomic status. So to raise the socio-economic profile of areas in distress, every underlying factor contributing to that result must be addressed, much in the same way we must tackle global warming: If we want to reduce green house gasses we must reduce the amount of fossil fuels we use, the amount of pollution coming from factories, and the amount we consume.

To tackle it, government should look for all the contributing factors to the low socioeconomic status of an area and address them all at once with a comprehensive view of how each effects another. This will promote broad social traction between people who want to see (for example) healthier food, better education, and improved wages in a poor area and are prepared to give support to get what they want at each level (final level being to eradicate env. injustice/racism).

By monitoring progress and strategically tackling interconnected issues one by one, progress can be mapped and public support can be utilized to gain momentum and enable lawmakers to pass effective legislature. Government (locally and internationally) should speak to the pressure points that are the differences between living high and low socioeconomic profile lives, thereby giving motivation to the masses, especially on the local level given the growing disparity between rich and poor in America. Governments should be motivated to do this too because tackling environmental injustice (aka tackling racism) raises the effectiveness of each individual and therefore the GDP of the country, while improving the self-image of millions and compelling them to act courageously – without internalized oppression.

It is clear that racial equality movements of the past have been work in the right direction, but largely the public was not enabled (or perhaps at the time willing) to view it as an interconnected problem and move in a way that built upon progress toward a unified goal. After all, equity still won’t appeal to some of those who are better off than the rest, so to make unification a thing that benefits us all means it must contribute to causes that are for the betterment of humanity as a whole as well – aka sustainability.

And really, this view of things – people included – not being interconnected is what got us to this point of needing sustainability and environmentalism in the first place.

So in summary, to tackle the problem as a whole, strategically, and build upon results toward a future that is better for everybody, the best way to do it is the one that motivates the most people while decreasing the opposition in the biggest way. Largely, a unified, interconnected view is a sustainable and environmentally just one.


I think the government may be able to tackle the issues of environmental injustices by regulations. The governments first need to acknowledge the issues and then make plans to address the issues. Ignoring the problems do no make them go away. They are can also begin to regulate companies closer so as to insure that the companies are doing all they can to protect people. The people need to also be educated by the government on what we can all do to properly dispose of materials.

Internationally the government must regulate each other as well as their own companies. If there are laws being broken they need to face consequences that they cannot buy their way out of. We as a human race need to be educated on what we can do. As a race, there must be thoughts about where materials go when we get rid of them. Some people and companies do not care but if educated there can be more done. Internationally there must be care about those effected by environmental injustices such as those who live by hazardous materials.

Local and international people must take responsibility for how they care for the planet while recognizing that there are those of us who are forced to deal with these injustices. Awareness can be a great stepping stone for education but we cannot get there until every nation publically say that this is an issue.

What hasn’t worked is ignoring the problem and forcing people to live where environmental injustices are even if they are low income people. Another thing is providing unsafe environments that force workers to go on strike. Loosely monitoring companies has also let us down since there has been waste dumped into oceans and rivers where people get their water. Just because they are low income doesn’t mean that this can be ignored. Water is vital for life and if not cared for it is an environmental injustice.

The human race has ignored many environmental injustice and this hasn’t worked. We as a race have to see that this method does not help any one in society. When we come together we can make the environment a safer place for everyone. In order to do this it starts with the government stepping in to strictly control companies that deal in hazardous materials.

In our current society we are becoming more aware of the environment and how we are killing it. The idea of recycling and being more aware of where products come as well as go from are good beginnings. However, we could also begin with educating people in low income neighborhoods. These are the people affected the most and they might not even be aware of what they could do. If they were then they could try to make changes to how the hazardous materials around them are treated.

This all comes back to education of people. We could also come together to say that these environmental injustices are not acceptable to us. From there it is forcing the government to make changes to protect all people. People must come together and use their voices in order to force new regulations to be put into place.


The main issue for governments to tackle is the containment of landfills and polution. In order to avoid minorities being pushed into slums we should clean up the environment in general for the bettering of society as a whole. Internationally, governments need to not allow developed countries to ship their waste overseas. Developed nations have the technology to deal with the trash they are creating in the most efficient way possible and so shipping it overseas only destoys nature more. What has failed in the past is International organizations trying to gain control when nations place a high value on their liberty. In order to avoid this, nations need to take a stand on not having another nations trash shipped into their country. This way, power is given to sovern nations instead of an uncontrollable international government.


I totally agree with the government tackling the landfills and pollution. In order for oppressed communities to not continuously suffer with the bottom of the barrel mentality. Products need to be produced in a way which they can be recycled.