What is “Environmental Justice”?

Environmental justice is a vital part of the struggle to improve and maintain a clean and healthy environment, especially for those who have traditionally lived, worked, and played closest to the sources of pollution. It was started by individuals who needed to address the inequality of environmental protection services in their communities.

The environmental justice movement addresses a statistical fact: people who live, work and play in America's most polluted surroundings are generally the impoverished. Rural and under privileged neighborhoods, are usually targeted to host facilities that have negative environmental effects - say, a landfill, dirty industrial plant or truck depot. The statistics provide clear signs of what the movement rightly calls "Environmental Discrimination." Disadvantaged communities have been battling this injustice for decades.

Environmental Justice will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

Why it’s important:

“Environmental justice calls for the education of present and future generations which emphasizes social and environmental issues, based on our experience and an appreciation of our diverse cultural perspectives.”

Our goal at The Sustainable Workplace alliance is to equip these individuals with the proper training. In doing so we’re empowering the people of these communities and preparing them for better opportunities with values that will be of use to them anywhere!

Our dedication to service these communities:

The Sustainable Workplace Alliance has actively supported underserved communities through training and outreach across the United States. These environmental justice projects include:

  • Providing environmental, health and safety (EH&S) training to incarcerated individuals in Florida, Georgia and California to reduce recidivism and assist inmates in securing EH&S related employment after release. Training on GED preparation, interviewing skills and basic money management was also provided. Over the last two years we have trained 78 inmates.
  • Actively provide Spanish language workplace safety training to Hispanic communities throughout central and south Florida in such areas as chemical safety, respiratory protection, fall protection, aerial lifts, forklifts, electrical safety, ladders and scaffolds, personal protective equipment (PPE) and similar construction related topics. Over 400 Hispanic speaking workers have been trained in the last 5 years.
  • Conducted community safety training and outreach to serve as a bridge between first responders community leaders and citizens. Over the last three years, across the country, nearly 700 people have been trained in this program, with a focus on rural communities.
  • In 2018, we have provided first responder training to the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians. The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians are a federally recognized tribe of Luiseño who live on the Rincon Indian Reservation in the Valley Center CDP, San Diego County, California. This training has been replicated for five other tribal nations across the western U.S. resulting in training for 83 tribal citizens.
  • In 2017 we provided safety outreach and personal protective equipment to over 200 citizen volunteers responding and recovering from Hurricane Maria in Florida and Puerto Rico.
  • In 2017 we conducted safety and maintenance best practices training on the insular island areas of Guam, Saipan, Pohnpei, Majuro and the U.S. Virgin Islands. We trained 279 workers on these topics.
  • In 2018 we launched our Environmental, Health and Safety Worker Training program with a goal to provide training to those in underserved communities and upon completion of the training, assist these students in finding viable employment in EH&S fields.

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