Environment Local News

Environmental Justice Tour Calls Attention to Pollution in West Louisville

The Catholic Passionist community is calling attention to pollution on Louisville’s West End though an environmental justice tour. Several Louisvillians took the tour this afternoon.

The trip was organized by the Passionist Earth and Spirit Center, and took participants on a tour of the power plants, chemical factories and waste disposal sites concentrated in west Louisville.

Tim Darst led the tour, which the center has been doing for two years. He says people in Louisville need to be aware of the pollution, which disproportionately affects minorities and low-income residents.

“Most major faith traditions—at least the three Abrahamic religions of Islam, Judaism and Catholicism we have a strong scriptural message to love your neighbor,” he said. “And if you’re going to love your neighbor, you can’t pollute your neighbor’s air and you can’t pollute your neighbor’s water.”

Darst says the tours help people draw connections between modern lifestyles and pollution.

“A lot of people, well, all of us who use electricity, who buy plastic products, it’s important for us to realize that when we do that we do pollute our neighbor’s air and water,” he said. “And a lot of people don’t have the opportunity to go down and see where that happens, make that connection.”

The Earth and Spirit Center offers the tour every other month and by request.

Environment Local News

Event Highlights Local Environmental Justice Concerns

Tomorrow, residents of west and southwest Louisville will hold an environmental justice fair at Chickasaw Park. Dubbed “People Not Poisons,” the organizers are trying to call attention to the large concentration of chemical and power plants in their neighborhoods, which are mostly African-American or white working class.

Michele Roberts will speak at the event. She’s the campaign and policy manager for the non-profit Advocates for Human Rights. She says in most cases, communities were well-established before industries moved in. And throughout much of the twentieth-century, segregation played a role in land use planning.

“The land use planning laws were dictated by the politics of the time,” Roberts said. “In the case of Louisville, the chemical plants came after the communities were located there. And they clustered themselves.”

Roberts added that there’s no need to keep using these hazardous materials when there are alternatives

“We do not need these toxic chemicals in our air, water, soil,” she said. “And also, our Department of Health, our Department of Justice, they all play a role in the way in which our chemical policies, our environmental policies, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency.”

People Not Poisons is tomorrow from 1 to 5 pm in the Chickasaw Park Lodge.

Here and Now

Today on Here and Now

Markets are up today, but one of the big worries this week has been about the exposure US banks have to European debt. How bad is Europe’s crisis and how much damage can it do to the American economy? We’ll try to get some answers.

This weekend, citizens living near chemical and power plants in Louisville will hold a rally for environmental justice. We’ll talk with Michele Roberts, with Advocates for Environmental Human Rights about these inequalities.

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is being sued over the alleged torture of three U.S. citizens who were working as contractors in Iraq. Rumsfeld claims immunity, and the Obama administration is backing him up. Judges have ruled against him in two cases. We’ll talk with Dahlia Lithwik at Slate.

And Emily Yellin helps us understand the immense, complex, and often surreal, customer service industry.

Local News

Activist Responds to Rubbertown Explosion

Today on State of Affairs we heard a portion of Phillip M. Bailey’s interview with activist Attica Scott in response to last week’s explosion at Carbide Industries in the Rubbertown neighborhood. Click below to hear the entire interview.

Audio MP3