Environmental justice. Rather than the somewhat hot button issue it is, it sounds more like it should have been part of a tagline for an old superhero. It is far from that, however, and is much closer to home.
Environmental justice to me is a way to treat the environment and the spaces around me in way that does not damage them. Or, if that cannot be managed, to treat them in a way that at least minimizes the damage I could cause. It’s certainly not an idea I was raised on (although my family members and I do recycle and do the “typical” environmentally beneficial things to the best of our ability), but it is an idea that I’ve become attached to, nonetheless. This semester, I’ve decided to make being environmentally conscious a part of my daily routine. I’m going to cut down on my water usage during my typical morning routine (brushing my teeth, washing my face, etc.).
Environmental justice is not independent of American history, though many may see it that way. Although protests for environmental care were considered largely isolated incidents until the 1980’s, that was soon to change at the beginning of the decade. According to this article, a protest in Warren County, North Carolina was the catalyst to start protests all around the country. The inhabitants of Warren County were outraged at the news that they would have to “host a hazardous waste landfill.” Although their protests did not stop the motion from passing, they incited more protests all around the nation and allowed for the idea of environmental justice protests being at least somewhat related, to take form.
Today, being environmentally healthy and protected is, for many, a part of normal daily life. I believe it will be a bit hard for me personally to maintain regulating my water usage for my morning routine, because of how much it is used to wake me up. I dillydally through brushing my teeth and washing my face, and by the end of it all I’m typically as awake as I’m going to be on a weekday morning. However, having to use as little water as possible, means that I have to speed up the process- basically, I have to be awake before any part of me touches the water. I’m doing this because while I knew that I didn’t exactly speed through my morning routine, I wasn’t aware of just how long I left the water running for until I really took a moment to think about it.
I think it’s especially important now, with the water shortages in our country in recent years, to honor those beginning protests and really focus on trying to be environmentally conscious and conserve as much water as is possible.