On March 23, 2016, an independent panel reported to the New York Times that the water crisis in Flint, Michigan was, in fact, a case of environmental injustice. Although environmental injustices have occurred throughout the nation’s history, the Flint water crisis is the most prominent case of environmental injustice that has come into public focus in many years.
In response to the persistent disproportionate environmental burden experienced by communities of color and low-income communities throughout the world, the Office of Sustainability hired three new student team members in January 2016, Amber Krisp (Law), Elisandra Garcia (M.Arch.), and Hannah Lacava (Urban Studies), to help develop an environmental justice (EJ) initiative. The EJ Team has spent the last two months collaborating with faculty members to develop a common definition of environmental justice, as well as mapping the current landscape of WashU community members working at the intersection of social justice and environmental issues. The team has identified three focus areas for the months ahead: catalyze collaborations by bringing people together, raise awareness of EJ issues through events and other outreach, and work to integrate EJ perspectives into existing curriculum and community collaborations. The Flint water crisis is a tragedy on the global stage. The EJ team intends to create an ecosystem of collaborations, awareness, and action that will bend the arc of history towards justice.
To read the New York Times article in full, click here.