“Largely that people of color, poor people tend to bear the brunt of that experience, whether it’s a toxic waste dump or bad air.”
The Americas Latino Eco-Festival kicks off in Denver on Thursday October 15th. Carolyn Finney, a cultural geographer and professor in Environmental Science, Policy and Management at the College of Natural Resources at the University of California, Berkeley will be giving one of the key note address. She is the author of Black Faces White Spaces and she’ll be speaking on the intersection of race and the environment.
Finney says those intersections are historical if you look at how white European settlers were given land for free, land taken from Native Americans, and land worked by African American slaves “there (were) political, financial people who happened to be white males who made decisions about the ways in which “wilderness” lands should be managed and the way land should be managed and who gets to do that and whose knowledge counts around that.”
Finney says those intersections continue today “when you think about issues…how environmental justice is defined…largely that people of color, poor people tend to bear the brunt of that experience, whether it’s a toxic waste dump or bad air…they tend to bear the brunt of that and that’s all about race.”
Finney says brown and black people have largely been excluded from conversations around the environment, not because they’re not interested and engaged “we’ve always been here, we have a very strong and complex relationship with the environment