What lessons has Peggy Shepard learned from 34 years on the frontlines of fighting for environmental and climate justice? She recently shared her experience and insight in a TED Countdown Talk as part of a series that focused on addressing the climate crisis and other environmental threats. Watch here TED Talk here.
Everyone has the right to live in a clean environment, she explains. But in the United States, the complex legacy of racism, housing segregation, and zoning laws have long determined where people of color can live. As a result, many Black and brown families often reside in “sacrifice zones,” communities overburdened with pollution and environmental hazards like power plants, landfills, incinerators, bus depots, and petrochemical facilities. By raising awareness of the health consequences of this disproportionate exposure to pollution and mobilizing those most affected, she and her colleagues in the environmental justice movement are working to address this environmental racism and turn these sacrifice zones into “green zones” that redress the legacy of pollution and harmful policies.