Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
socially responsible designer is an agent of justice. What has become evident only
in the past few decades is that without a clean environment, life is threatened
by toxic substances, liberty is threatened by the loss of resources, and happiness
is less likely in an unhealthful and unappealing place to live. Thus, sustainability
and justice go hand in hand.
Justice must be universal applied fairly to everyone. One of the few things
that everyone shares is the environment. We breathe from the air in the same
troposphere. All of our water circulates through the hydrological cycle. Our food
stores the solar energy from the same sun. Our products are derived from the
same Earth's crust. But within this environment, few things are distributed evenly
in terms of amount and quality. Some breathe cleaner air than others, drink purer
water than most, eat food that is less contaminated than that available to the ma-
jority of the world's inhabitants, and have better tools and toys than everyone else.
Since the distribution of goods and services is so uneven, we may be tempted
to assume that systems are fair simply because “most” are satisfied with the current
situation. However, the only way to protect public health and the environment
is to ensure that all persons are adequately protected. In the words of Reverend
Martin Luther King, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” 22 By
extension, if any group is disparately exposed to an unhealthy environment, the
entire nation is subjected to inequity and injustice. Put in a more positive way,
we can work to provide a safe and livable environment by including everyone,
leaving no one behind. This mandate has a name, environmental justice , and green
design is a tool that extends equal protection to matters of public health and
environmental quality.
The concept of environmental justice has evolved over time. In the early
1980s, the first name for the movement was environmental racism , followed by
environmental equity. These transitional definitions reflect more than changes in
jargon. When attention began to be paid to the particular incidents of racism, the
focus was logically placed on eradicating the menace at hand (i.e., blatant acts of
willful racism). This was a necessary, but not completely sufficient component in
addressing the environmental problems of minority communities and economi-
cally disadvantaged neighborhoods, so the concept of equity was employed more
assertively. Equity implies the need not only to eliminate the overt problems
associated with racism, but to initiate positive change to achieve more evenly
distributed environmental protection.
Sidebar: Applying the Synthovation/Regenerative Model:
Social Justice
Environmental justice is best achieved when fairness is a consideration
early in the design process. Siting unpopular facilities such as landfills and
heavy industrial centers near poorer and minority neighborhoods has been
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