Environmental Justice Is An LGBTQ Issue
What is Environmental Justice?
San Diego’s Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) defines environmental justice as the right of all people and communities to live, work, and play in a clean and safe environment. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines environmental justice as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.
Environmental justice includes acknowledging, confronting, and fighting back against environmental racism and environmental sexism. In San Diego County, EHC tracks and identifies the environmental impacts on people of color, showing that the neighborhoods with the greatest concentrations of people of color often also contain the greatest concentration of facilities that emit air pollution, utilize toxic chemicals, or generate hazardous waste.
Another area of environmental justice is climate justice, which frames climate change as an ethical and political issue rather than just an environmental issue.
Why is Environmental Justice an LGBTQ+ Issue?
Lower-income and economically insecure communities – including the LGBTQ+ community – are most impacted by environmental discrimination and climate change. Trans and queer communities, especially black and brown and low-income queer and trans people, live on the frontlines of climate change. Homeless youth – 40% of whom are LGBTQ+ – often face the brunt of climate change and extreme weather events. Additionally, many LGBTQ+ people tend to be concentrated in LGBTQ+-friendly or friendlier cities on the coasts: New York, San Francisco, Miami, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and San Diego. All of these cities are at high risk for sea level rise and increasing storm surges. Here in California, we’re already seeing the effects of climate change in the more frequent and destructive wildfires and floods across our state. In order to keep our LGBTQ+ communities safe, we must also work toward environmental justice and climate justice.
What We Believe
- We believe that all people deserve to live in healthy and safe environments, and that protecting the environment, working against discriminatory environmental policies, and working toward climate justice are imperative for our communities to thrive.