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Video transcript

- Where we live in society plays a huge role in the environmental benefits and risks that we're exposed to. And, I'm gonna actually draw in different parts of society by using this line which represents a spectrum of society. On the right hand side I'm gonna draw part of society that experiences higher poverty and also incorporates the often disadvantaged racial and minority groups. On the left hand side I'm gonna draw a much wealthier part of society. One of the things that we know is that living areas that experience high poverty and have a lot of racial minorities often have few environmental benefits compared to the wealthier part of society. What do I mean by environmental benefits? I mean green spaces, parks, recreational areas. What does that look like? Well let me draw it for you, using this triangle. This is supposed to represent environmental benefits. And one of the things we can see is that the wealthier part of society has much higher benefits than the high poverty and racial minority part of society. And as I mentioned, those benefits include things like parks, bike paths, and other green spaces. So one part of society seems to be getting a lot of benefit while another part of society seems to not be getting as much benefit. But what the high poverty and racial minority part of society does get, it does get something, and what it does get, it gets a lot of environmental burden. So what does that look like? This line is actually supposed to represent increasing burdern. So compared to the high income part of society the high poverty and racial minorities get increasing burden. And this includes things like waste facilities, manufacturing and factories, energy production, and transportation facilities such as airports. And one of the things we have to consider is that these are disadvantaged populations, they are really at risk because they're disadvantaged in many ways. They often have few alternatives in terms of where they work and where they live. They may have little awareness of the risks they may face being exposed to various environmental risks or pollutants or chemicals. They may also have other pressing issues, meaning that environmental issues are low on their agenda and let us contrast that to the wealthier population. The wealthier population may very well be more politically powerful, they can also be economically powerful, literally being able to demand that the environmental beneficial facilities are placed close to them, and the burdensome facilities are placed far away. And being able to control things like laws and regulations to benefit them more so than the other communities. And they can also be better represented in environmental groups or lobbying groups. Now this is all of significance when we consider that the high poverty groups and racial minorities may have health problems such as asthma or obesity, because we know conditions like asthma have got strong correlations to environmental issues such as pollutants, particles and ozones, and these are part of the environmental burdens that these populations face. And also when we consider obesity, obesity can be thought of as a lack of access to safe recreational facilities where people can exercise. So a lack of access to environmental benefits, and lack of access to affordable grocery and shopping facilities. The big concept here, that I want to write down is the concept of environmental justice. And what this concept really looks at is that there is a fair distribution of the benefits and burdens, of the environmental benefits and burdens within society, across all groups. And as we can see here, that is clearly not happening at the moment, and much action still needs to be taken.