Although sustainability has been a buzzword for quite some time, the radical economic and environmental changes needed, still seem out of reach. For E / J Solutions, the pathway to sustainability is environmental justice (“EJ”). At its core, environmental justice is a democratic and community-oriented approach to the environment and several of EJ’s core principles illuminate the way forward to a more sustainable environment and economy.
A Seat at the Table
Those who are most burdened by a policy proposal should be considered its most vital stakeholders. Decision-makers need to invite the affected community to provide input on proposals as early as possible during the process. Even the most informed policymaker has blind spots. Yet, when policymakers are not knowledgeable about the real issues marginalized communities face, they aren’t able to use their policy-making agenda to address those issues.
Equity From the Ground Up
In stark contrast to traditional trickle down policies, equitable solutions build community resources for the most impacted residents and workers first. They also improve outcomes in key determinants of health and well-being, such as economic livelihoods. E / J Solutions enables impacted community members and policymakers to a develop shared long-term vision and an implementation framework that maintains accountability and transparency. Collaborating with impacted community members is the only way to meet priority community needs and build meaningful solutions that bolster local resilience.
Not on Planet Earth
The environmental justice movement is closely aligned with the Precautionary Principle, which urges precautionary actions to prevent or mitigate threats to the environment even before any proof of harm. E / J Solutions believes that shaping initiatives through authentic engagement from the most harmed communities will reduce existing disparities and lead to effective policies with fewer unintended consequences. The ultimate goal is to end the production of toxic and polluting materials, rather than simply moving the problems to different neighborhoods.