Why Environmental Justice?

by Isaiah Shimkin and Tunji Williams, 8th grade

We, the 7th and 8th graders of MCS, believe that responding to climate change is imperative to our community and our world’s well being, and its impact is felt in many aspects of life and affects all people.  In responding to climate change, we have titled our project MCS Go GREEN: Get Real Environmental Equality Now, to draw attention to the importance of including all people in conversations about climate change. We have learned that low-income people of color are often left out of crucial conversations and policy decisions about the environment and as a result are disproportionately impacted by pollution. For example, there are many factories, waste disposals, and truck depots located in neighborhoods such as Harlem and the South Bronx.  As a result, there are high instances of childhood asthma and other illnesses. At this point more than ever as New York City responds to climate change it is important that all New Yorkers are included in plans for the future.

There are environmental justice activists such as WE ACT (West Harlem Environmental Action) and the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance working to create more green spaces in low-income neighborhoods as well as access to good food, more equal distribution of waste facilities, equitable public transit and clean air.  We hope as part of our project to partner with these organizations and to be leaders in greening our own community of MCS.

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