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Environmental & Social Justice
Environmental and Economic Justice campaigns are an outgrowth of this nation’s troubled racial and economic past and present. Just as ending slavery in the second half of the 19th Century did not end discrimination, the passage of Civil Rights legislation in the second half of the 20th Century did not end racism and Economic Darwinism.
Environmental Justice became an issue when nongovernmental and governmental organizations became aware of something minority communities had known for years. Cheap land attracts businesses needing a lot of square footage at a low price, like large manufacturing and heavy industry. Cheap land also attract poor people looking for an inexpensive place to live. The result is a deadly combination of pollution and people with no other place to go. The fact that the highest percentage of the nation’s poor per capita are also people of color concentrated the impacts of this situation further.
We at Arc Ecology are proud to say, we didn’t have to wait for the birth of the Environmental Justice movement in the 1990’s to begin our efforts to address this situation. Founded by long term Civil Rights, Economic and Social Justice activists, Arc Ecology’s commitment to this issue is bred in our bones.
Although Arc Ecology’s campaigns benefit all people, over the last twenty years we’ve focused on those communities now called Environmental Justice Communities providing political, organizing, scientific and economic resources to empower people in the decision-making impacting their futures. Arc Ecology doesn’t speak on behalf of Environmental Justice or Economic Justice Communities: We see our job as helping communities assert their own voices. Our projects have forced the Navy to provide environmental cleanup and support contracts to minority owned businesses and have provided the technical resources to help identify health hazards and economic opportunity.
Arc Ecology believes that rebuilding communities requires a different approach. Opening up property to lots of small scale community-based investment can bring abandoned urban brownfields into rapid reuse, with greater economic and social diversity and stability and without disrupting the fabric of local life. We believe in partnering with communities, blending economic and environmental sustainability into the strategies for property reuse so quality of life improves for both the neighborhoods and the community at large, and these neighborhoods can thrive for years to come.
All Arc Ecology projects are multi-disciplinary and address multiple program areas. To learn more about some of our projects that have a strong focus on environmental and social justice, see:
1331 Evans Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94124
ph: 415.643.1190 | fax: 415.643.4779 | info at arcecology.org