In response to Prompt 3: Justice Week 5 blog prompts

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In Peter Wenz’s essay, Just Garbage, he coins the phrase “Environmental Racism” which means that racial minorities are forced to be exposed to disproportionate shares of environmental hazards. It is clearly evident that people experiencing economic adversity are forced to share a disproportionate amount of waste exposure; you never see a bourgeois neighborhood next to a landfill. However I do not think the predicament of the economically challenge can be attributed to a form of racism. The fact that racial minorities are usually the group stricken by poverty does not mean that racism is a culprit. If anything the current economic situation stems from the old racist traditions that America once had but are now largely expunged from society but the situation is not in itself racist. On the other hand I do agree with Wenz that the burden of toxic waste is disproportionate and that something must be done to remedy the situation.

 

Many economically stable or well off groups have succumbed to the disease of affluence, which basically means that if they have the money then splurge a little. This mentality furthers the belief that they have worked hard for where they are and therefore deserve to be picky with what they surround themselves with, which includes factories and landfills. The irony from all of this is that these “eyesores” are instead place near the poor even though it is the rich that allow the existence of these hazards to perpetuate yet they are not forced to deal with any of the consequences of their lifestyle. This even exists on a macro scale where developed countries dump wastes in poorer countries because the citizens of the rich countries refuse to have the waste stored where they live.

 

I feel that people must be made to realize that their lifestyle decisions can have consequences more far reaching than they can imagine and I know many people will refuse to accept it. People need to start taking responsibility for their actions (this applies to countries as well). Many people refuse to allow nuclear waste to be stored anywhere on U.S. soil but the fact is that it must be stored so where does it go? To some poor country that cannot even produce electrical power for its own people. Governments are going to have to tell people that if they want this then these are the consequences they must deal with and that they cannot shove their problems onto someone else.

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