Thursday, February 1, 2007

Featured Abstract of the Day

In response to the call for papers, the conference received 110 abstracts. Between now and March 29th we will feature an abstract of a paper that will be presented at the conference.

Movement 2032: Is there a place for EJ in Emergency Preparedness & Homeland Security

The Environmental Protection Agency plan for implementing environmental justice programs includes issuing guidance for its staff, performing training within the Agency, coordinating with states, Indian tribes, industry, and all stakeholders, devoting resources to environmental justice program implementation, and developing measurement tools for accountability. While this plan is noble it fails to address issues of homeland security and emergency preparedness.

How will this movement which has focused on civil rights for so many years engage in dialogue with the power brokers in Washington, to demand that EJ concerns are included in every evacuation, remediation and security plan. Will the movement embrace other groups, ideas and viewpoints? Will we be able to reach the XBOX and PS2 generation? How do we change the mindset of a capitalist society to view us as a partner and not an adversary? How do we channel our anger into action? Why are we more interested in lawsuits instead of mediation?

Our movement must tweak its’ model to one of action and not reaction. The issues that we must confront might change the face of the movement. When will we begin to build a legion of new leaders to sit under the tutelage of those that started the movement? Is it important to do so? Will we continue to be stuck in the sixties or become tech savvy with our message? Key issues include: coastal restoration, climate change and alternative forms of energy. President Bush is mandating that the United States become less dependent on foreign oil and began to look at alternatives sources at home. How are we going to ensure that our communities will have a voice in this emerging marketplace? How do we include these concerns in our overall message? How will we address racism as it pertains to building green, environmental health and coastal restoration?

We have an opportunity now to address these issues but we must act quickly. While we don’t have to change the messenger the message must be tweaked.

Wynecta Fisher

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