Racism and Environmental Injustice Go Hand-in-Hand

It’s hard to know where to begin.

A perfect storm of multiple injustices and preventable tragedies have laid bare our country’s many long-standing and neglected troubles. From racial inequality, unchecked police brutality, wealth disparity, a global pandemic, unprecedented unemployment, and massive, criminal environmental deregulation, all in a vacuum of national leadership from elected officials. It is shameful that it took the horrific and sickening murder of George Floyd, yet another unarmed black man, at the hands of police, to finally begin to bring us to reckon with systemic racism in America.

GoGreenGo.org stands with Black Lives Matter, and demands justice and true equality for all people of color.

Racism and environmental injustice go hand-in-hand. We know that black people and other marginalized populations are disproportionately effected by pollution and climate change. We also know that adverse health issues related to environmental injustices have a greater impact on low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. Exposure to higher levels of pollution increases the risk of many ailments, including death from COVID-19.

By design, poorer communities tend to be located in areas nearer power plants, manufacturing, landfills and other dumping grounds, effecting both air quality and water quality. And the properties they live in are often not to code, neglected and shoddily constructed.

Freddie Grey, the young black man from Baltimore whose neck was broken, and was killed while in police custody, had sever toxic lead poisoning.

We as Americans and environmental advocates have a lot of work to do. We must fight racism in all its forms, and environmental injustices head-on. There can be no climate justice without racial justice.

Let’s get going.

Here are several resources that show what others in the environmental advocacy world are saying and doing to combat racism and environmental injustice:


Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, The Washington Post
I’m a black climate expert. Racism derails our efforts to save the planet.

Bill McKibbon, The New Yorker
Racism, Police Violence, and the Climate Are Not Separate Issues

Leah Thomas , Vogue
Why Every Environmentalist Should Be Anti-Racist

The New York Times
Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism

Dany Sigwalt
Climate Activists: Here’s Why Your Work Depends on Ending Police Violence

Brentin Mock, CityLab
How Environmental Injustice Connects to Police Violence

Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Are you a white CCL volunteer? Let’s talk.

Sierra Club
Equitable & Just National Climate Platform


Ohio Environmental Council
Black Lives Matter: Our Collective Call to Action

Climate Reality Project
Why The Climate Fight Is A Justice Fight

Inside Climate News
As Protests Rage Over George Floyd’s Death, Climate Activists Embrace Racial Justice

Sierra Club
Sierra Club Statement on the Murder of George Floyd

What We Must do to Dismantle White Supremacy

Sunrise Movement
The Climate Justice Movement Must Oppose White Supremacy Everywhere — By Supporting M4BL

Extinction Rebellion
We Stand in Solidarity With All Oppressed By Racist and Stat Sanctioned Violence

The Nature Conservancy
Environmentalists Cannot Remain Silent on Racism

Ohio Citizen Action
No Climate Justice without Racial Justice

Environmental Law & Policy Center
ELPC Stands Against Racial Injustice, for Black Lives, and for Healthy Communities for All

Citizens’ Climate Lobby
CCL supports racial justice and those who fight for it


Yale Study on Race, Ethnicity and Public Responses to Climate Change

Connecting the Dots Between Environmental Injustice and the Coronavirus

Waste Dumps Remain A Burden For Minority Neighborhoods

American Lung Association
Disparities in the Impact of Air Pollution

Contributed by:
Eric Hancsak
Founder and Board President of Go Green Go