Environmental Justice in Florida: Addressing Inequality and Climate Change

by | FCRM News, List

May 21, 2024
Environmental justice is more than a fight for clean air and water; it’s a fight for equality and human rights. In Florida, the impact of environmental issues is felt most acutely by communities of color and low-income residents. These communities often find themselves on the front lines of pollution, hazardous waste, and the effects of climate change.
Consider the story of the residents of Liberty City, a historically Black neighborhood in Miami. For years, they have lived with the realities of poor air quality and contaminated water. The health implications are severe, with higher rates of asthma and other respiratory issues. Yet, despite these challenges, the community has shown incredible resilience.
Local activists, like Valencia Gunder, have been instrumental in bringing attention to these issues. Gunder’s work focuses on advocating for cleaner environments and ensuring that residents have access to the resources they need to protect their health. Her efforts have led to tangible changes, such as the implementation of community clean-up initiatives and increased monitoring of pollution levels.
Environmental justice is also a matter of preparedness and response. Florida’s vulnerability to hurricanes and rising sea levels exacerbates the challenges faced by marginalized communities. Equitable policies and solutions are necessary to ensure that these communities are not left behind in disaster response and recovery efforts.
At its core, environmental justice seeks to address the inequities that exist within our environmental policies and practices. It’s about recognizing that everyone has the right to live in a healthy environment. By supporting the work of environmental justice advocates and holding policy makers accountable, we can move towards a more equitable and just society.