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Shaurya Kumar

Posted on June 19, 2022 at 6:45 pm

Shaurya Kumar

Whether the contribution comes from a citizen that makes the decision not to recycle or drive a gas-powered vehicle, a mainstream company with factories that emits mass industrial waste, or a farmer that utilizes fertilizer leading to runoff, almost everyone, regardless of background, has played a role in climate change in some varying way. With
the issue of climate change being so vast, so prominent in the way that it has affected the whole world whilst also being caused by the majority population, it would seem as if the climate change conflict would affect everyone indifferently. However, this is not the case. The people who are the most affected by significant harm from climate change are not determined by the amount they contribute towards climate change, but rather by their
environment and the people around them. Within the issue of climate change itself, there is a deeper issue of environmental injustice, an injustice that affects people unfairly to harms associated with hazardous environmental acts, and neglectful policies, regulations, and abuse of the environment. As Delawareans, we must act toward preventing these consequences from hitting our citizens, and the only way to do so is to include environmental justice within our climate activism to ensure that previous events outside of Delaware never occur, and to ensure our safety in the future.

First, it is important to define what environmental justice means. Environmental justice means that rather than people facing the repercussions of other people's actions, the people who are the contributors, specifically to the suffering of the environment and the people around them, should be held accountable. Currently, the consequences of climate change are not often felt by the people who worsen the climate the most, but rather by the
people who have already suffered, especially socioeconomically. An example of this is the Sub-Saharan African water crisis, where innocent villages, often with no political or economic power, are stripped away from their water supplies due to the irresponsible acts of large-scale farms and factories that contaminate clean drinking water, leaving them with minimal adequate water supplies. Is this justifiable? Is it fair towards these innocent people
with no power that their necessities are stripped due to the immorality of large-scale powerhouses that contribute the most towards climate change and pollution? And most importantly, do the people who contribute face or feel any repercussions for the devastating effects they put on these communities? Justice is a combination of righteousness and equity, and the right path is a path where the people suffering from another`s actions, especially in the case of environmental injustices are fought against in order to prevent harm to these marginalized communities or people unfairly exposed to harms associated by the environment.

Environmental justice should be a defining element in climate activism within Delaware for one of two reasons; The first is the prevention of potential disasters seen within other communities. Within America itself, there have been examples of environmental injustices, such as the infamous Flint water crisis, which caused deaths and mass lead poisonings due to the lead exposure from aged pipes. This event was in Michigan rather than Delaware, but why should we wait for an event that can cause deaths to act? We need to use past events and history to our advantage and use these injustices to advocate for environmental justice to prevent another Flint water crisis or even something more detrimental within Delaware. Fortunately, we have not had a catastrophic event yet, but within the activism of the climate, we must include environmental justice to ensure the safety of all Delawareans and prevent disasters that communities have or currently are going through.

The last reason why environmental justice should be a defining element in climate activism within Delaware is to look at a long-term sight for our community. Every year, the trend for climate change is steadily and exponentially increasing with no sign of slowing down, and climate change also brings a possible increase in the number of environmental injustices that can occur. To prevent a large-scale failure in the future, justice in regulations and
policies must be advocated and lobbied currently to ensure our safety for the future. Us Delawareans should not wait for a disaster but rather be proactive, proactive in the sense that our activism should address the possible concerns our future and the increasing trend of climate change holds for us. As mentioned previously, we have already
seen terrible incidents of communities falling apart due to the injustices they have been subjected to, and we should use these and the gift of anticipation to ensure the safety and strength of our community.

All in all, environmental injustice is an issue that is just as, if not greater than climate change itself. It has already ridiculed and destroyed communities all around the world and will continue to do so without action. Delawareans, however, have been blessed to never be subjected to this terrible occurrence, but are also blessed in the sense that we are a small but unified state. Us Delawareans must come together and advocate, lobby, raise
awareness, and reach out to the people that represent us to keep our community safe. We have the power to prevent these injustices, but we must act promptly and collectively to make the change happen. Although climate change and environmental injustice are arising issues, they cannot compare to the power of the community, the remedy to these severe issues; we have the influence to prevent any further damage to the environment or the
people, and we must start advocating for change now.

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