Much of America has the wrong "complexion for protection"

Eight years ago Dr. Robert Bullard, known as the father of environmental justice, wrote an essay that ran with our investigative series "Pollution, Poverty, People of Color" that remains all too relevant today.

Editor's note: Environmental insults and police violence aimed at communities of color are interconnected issues. As the nation grieves over the killing of George Floyd, we are revisiting stories from our newsroom over the past years that examine environmental racism in Black communities.


In June 2012, Environmental Health News launched a multi-week series, examining environmental justice issues across the U.S..

For this series, Pollution, Poverty, People of Color, EHN dispatched reporters to seven communities to report on their struggles to cope with an array of environmental threats.

Years later their stories still resonate with all of us, as many of these communities still face disproportionate impacts from pollution.

As part of the series, Dr. Robert Bullard, known as the father of environmental justice, wrote an essay that is as true today as it was eight years ago.

"No community, rich or poor, black, white, yellow, red or brown, should be forced to become a throw away community."

Read the full essay below.

Bullard: Much of America has wrong complexion for protection

Robert Bullard

Banner photo: George Floyd protest in D.C., May 30, 2020 (Credit: Vitoria Pickering/flickr)

Print Friendly and PDF
SUBSCRIBE TO EHN'S MUST-READ DAILY NEWSLETTER: ABOVE THE FOLD
From our Newsroom

Fractured: Harmful chemicals and unknowns haunt Pennsylvanians surrounded by fracking

We tested families in fracking country for harmful chemicals and revealed unexplained exposures, sick children, and a family's "dream life" upended.

Fractured: The stress of being surrounded

Jane Worthington moved her grandkids to protect them from oil and gas wells—but it didn't work. In US fracking communities, the industry's pervasiveness causes social strain and mental health problems.

Fractured: Distrustful of frackers, abandoned by regulators

"I was a total cheerleader for this industry at the beginning. Now I just want to make sure no one else makes the same mistake I did. It has ruined my life."

Fractured: Buffered from fracking but still battling pollution

A statewide network of fracking and conventional wells, pipelines, and petrochemical plants closes in on communities.

Fractured: The body burden of living near fracking

EHN.org scientific investigation finds western Pennsylvania families near fracking are exposed to harmful chemicals, and regulations fail to protect communities' mental, physical, and social health.

10 tips for cleaner grocery shopping

Picking ingredients for a better lifestyle.

Above The Fold

Daily & Weekly newsletters all free.