Watch the newest contribution to EPA's 20th Anniversary of Environmental Justice Video Series, featuring Penny Newman of the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice. Mrs. Newman powerfully describes the environmental justice concerns that Inland Valley communities in Southern California face, which have some of the highest levels of air pollution in the U.S. today. She also talks about the ways that residents in these communities are organizing to fight back and make positive changes to protect the health of their families and neighbors.
“This video tells a story which we hold very dear to our hearts,” said John Lanier, foundation director. “As far as we are concerned, it is the story – Ray’s epiphany, Interface’s journey, and the Foundation’s beginning,” he said. “And if I had to use one word to describe this story, I could find no better word than ‘inspirational.’”
The idea of sustainability stands on three legs: the economy, the environment and social equity for the community. The Lake Apopka farmworker community is an example of an environmental justice community left behind in the policy and planning. It is not sustainable to address only the economy or only the environment. The Marsh Flow-Way Project and Lake Apopka Restoration Act were implemented to address the ecological issues such as the health of the lake but ignored the health and concerns of the people. Collaborations between community organizations like the Farmworkers Association of Florida and educational institutions like Florida A&M University College of Law are invaluable and can boost the strength and effectiveness of equity with regards to sustainability.