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Re: E-M:/ Earth Day At 35



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Enviro-Mich message from "Thomas W. Stephens" <tstephens@sugarlaw.org>
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Other than a cryptic reference at the end to people from all backgrounds
working together, Keith Schneider's sophisticated Earth Day 35 essay,
regarding the promises and problems of environmentalism, omits any explicit
mention of the issue of environmental justice.  This unfortunate
whitewashing of the environmental justice movement from the leading edge of
environmentalism today, which Keith summarizes in his essay, does not help
us gain the understanding and power we need to build an environmental
movement that is more effective and responsive to the politics and other
social realities of the 21st century.

One of the most critical, yet least-often cited, lessons of great social
movements throughout US history is the vital importance of multi-racial and
cross-class leadership and organization.  When feminist, civil rights and
labor movements have included such diversity, they have benefited.  There is
no way to build such diverse and powerful social movements without grappling
intensely, consistently, and in a principled way with the issues of race,
class and other characteristics which have all too often been used to divide
and conquer us.  This is one of the key motivating insights of the modern
environmental justice movement.

Yes, environmentalists and other social activists have much to be proud of,
and environmental protection is even more critical today than it was 35
years ago.

No, what there is of a political "left" in the US, including the
environmental movement, is not strengthened by ignoring disproportionate
adverse impacts of pollution on people of color and low income communities.
The contrary is true, and it is important for us to understand and act upon
that realization.  One aspect of such action is organizing and fighting for
environmental justice.

"At a time when opportunism is everything, when hope seems lost, when
everything boils down to a cynical business deal, we must find the courage
to dream.  To reclaim romance.  The romance of believing in justice, in
freedom and in dignity.  For everybody."
                                                       - Arundhati Roy

"There's no question that minority and low-income communities have suffered
disproportionately. There have been many, many studies that reflect that
particular fact."
                                                        - Barry Hill,
Director of EPA Office of Environmental Justice for the current
                                                          (lawless)
Bush/Cheney administration, Tavis Smiley Show, NPR, 4/22/04


Tom Stephens
Guild/Sugar Law Center
733 St. Antoine, 3rd Floor
Detroit, Michigan 48226
(313) 962-6540
(313) 962-4492 (fax)
(586) 419-9230 (cell)





----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Keith Schneider" <keith@mlui.org>
To: <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Friday, April 22, 2005 6:10 AM
Subject: E-M:/ Earth Day At 35


> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from "Keith Schneider" <keith@mlui.org>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Friends,
> Happy Earth Day. The Institute published an essay on Earth Days 35th
anniversary that notes the movement is in fine shape, especially in red
state America. Have a great day, Keith
>
> See: http://www.mlui.org/growthmanagement/fullarticle.asp?fileid=16846
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Sent via the WebMail system at mlui.org
>
>
>
>
>
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