Race Should Not Predict Whether You Live Near Waste

Where do your climbing shoes go when you throw them out early?

Unfortunately there’s a good chance that they might end up near a black or Latino neighborhood. That’s because in the US, your race is the largest factor as to whether you live near a hazardous waste facility. Indeed, a recent NYT’s article highlighted that: 

Black Americans are exposed to more pollution from every type of source, including industry, agriculture, all manner of vehicles, construction, residential sources and even emissions from restaurants. People of color more broadly, including Black and Hispanic people and Asian-Americans, are exposed to more pollution from nearly every source. People of color are also exposed to disproportionate amounts of emissions from power plants, incinerators, as well as garbage and recycling trucks — all of which are linked to asthma and lower life expectancies.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Across the country, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities are striving for community-based solutions to enact laws at the local, state, and national levels that seek to reverse the harms inflicted on their communities. We believe climbers can be a forceful ally for change too.

While resoling your shoes and keeping them out of the landfill is a start, we also need to change laws and policies negatively impact our communities and the environment. It is for this reason that we give a portion of our revenues to non-profits organizing local NYC communities to fight for policy change, such as the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, Chhaya CDC, and UPROSE. Through their collective efforts they are fighting for policies that are:

  • Reforming the commercial waste industry to reduce solid waste pollution and increase recycling;
  • Advocating for tenant policies that ensure the right to a healthy home, and;
  • Creating community solar projects to advance renewable energy in NYC

These are merely a few of the campaigns that these on-the-ground groups are waging — and there are so many more. We’ll go into greater depth about their work in the future. In the meantime, we encourage you to check out their websites, donate, and get involved when you can. We need your help in creating a better world where race doesn’t equate to living near waste.