Five Environmental Justice Articles To Prep You for Congress 2019

Change takes people. Change takes action. Change takes communication.

On the eve of iSEE’s Congress 2019, our writing team wanted to take a moment to pay homage to the journalists who called attention to international, national, and local environmental problems. Read (and listen) on to learn more about sustainability justice. 


5. How Flint Poisoned its People by Anna Clark 

The powerful imagery conjured by the author transports us to the confusion and fear that plagued Flint, Mich., residents in 2014. An already flagging urban community struggling through years of shuttered companies, mortgage crises, and economic depression becomes the main stage for one of America’s well-hidden environmental problems: access to clean water. The article lays out the truth: Nobody seemed to care about Flint — until everybody did.

4. How Environmental Justice is Shaping a New Civil Rights Movement by Katherine Webb-Hehen 

iSEE’s Q Magazine authors have long-documented the destruction climate change is wreaking on the Southern U.S. But this long-form article takes a more personal approach, demonstrating the multiple natural (and human-made) disasters striking poverty-stricken and rural communities, through personal anecdotes. This is the final in a four-part series on environmental justice issues in the South, and it hits hard as a stand-alone piece. 

3. Living Downstream — an NPR Podcast series

Seasoned environmental reporters and activists are working together to bring a diverse array of environmental justice stories to this long-form podcast. The 20- to 30-minute episodes share historical tales from environmental movements, shed light on international problems, and make listeners recognize the travesties happening at their front doors. Did you know that North Carolina is the “birthplace of environmental justice” or that Navajo residents in New Mexico have lived with radioactive contamination at their doorsteps for more than 50 years? 

2. Pollution Hurts Some People More Than Others by Arica L. Coleman 

As the author reflects on the foundations of Earth Day, it’s becoming painfully obvious that environmental rights do not, in fact, mean equal rights. Historically, municipal sanitation issues (which when unaddressed lead to a multitude of health issues) were publicly ignored in black, Hispanic, and Native American communities and neighborhoods while simultaneously hiring people of color to manage “the dirty work” in large cities. Though this article starts us in the 1800s, it quickly becomes clear that we still have a lot of work to do.

1. The Mother of Environmental Justice by Lisen Holström

Can you call yourself an environmentalist if you don’t know who Hazel Johnson was? (No judgements, because I did call myself one and I did not know who she was.) In Q Magazine’s inaugural issue, this phenomenal woman’s personal story weaves through systemic race, housing, and pollution injustices happening in a Southside Chicago neighborhood. Simultaneously devastating, due to the high cancer tolls, and awe-inspiring, because people power is very real, Hazel’s story is one that should be taught in U.S. history classes.