Enviro Justice Center Works to Link Green and Civil-Rights Movements

Environmental degradation often falls hardest on poor and minority communities, but these communities can have difficulty organizing to fight for environmental justice, and they’ve received too little help from a mainstream environmental movement perceived as a white, middle- and upper-class affair. Sociology professor Robert Bullard started the Environmental Justice Resource Center in Atlanta to connect the groups. It started with a battle against MARTA, Atlanta’s public transit agency, to replace the polluting diesel buses serving poor and black communities with cleaner models. In the decade since, the center has served as a clearinghouse for information on environmental racism, working to link disadvantaged communities, civil-rights groups, and mainstream environmental groups. Bullard hails the growing environmental justice movement, saying that 20 years ago, “We would just get beat up. But now, when we get together, it’s a fearsome force.”