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Environmental injustice

Communities disproportionately affected by environmental degradation and pollution.

By Prince WaddlePublished about a month ago 3 min read
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Environmental injustice
Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

There, in the heart of this boiling megapolis, lies a forgotten angle that skyscrapers reach out to in the sky with their tops and at night with neon lights to paint infinity. There existed a neighbourhood, stifled by the suffocating grip of an environmental injustice amidst the shadows of high factories, towering; and neighbourhoods neglected by the upper society.

Maria greeted me from that forgotten corner. Years of hardships were displayed in weary eyes, the voice trembling under the weight of too many unspoken burdens. Welcome was in her humble home, where the walls will be able to talk about hard work and endurance.

Maria's story had begun long ago, woven into the fabric of generations past. Her grandparents had moved to this side of the city, drawn in by promises of both opportunity and prosperity. But the factories grew and choked the air with clouds of pollution, poisoning the soil.

Children gasped for breath, where every gulp was fresh with each inhale, bearing their young lungs with the poisonous fumes that hung like miasma. She went ahead to describe families that would fall apart from the various illnesses they suffer, being crushed by the cruel hands of environmental degradation.

But somehow within that despair, the voice of Maria glistened with a fire of defiance. She spoke of community rallies and grassroots, from where the forgotten found a voice of their own and rose against the injustices that tried to bury them. They walked through the streets with high banners—clean air, clean water, and a future without chains of pollution.

But their cries went to nobody's ears, drowning by the roar of industry and whispers of politicians in the pockets of corporate greed. Those institutions, which are supposed to protect them, sat back and watched as Maria and her neighbors took on a giant so big that they could never hope to defeat it.

And as Maria walked me down the streets of her neighborhood, the scars of neglect were upon every brick, upon every face. Abandoned buildings loomed as monuments to broken promises while families tried to make progress from the shadows of towering smokestacks.

But among all these were resilience and hope. In this forgotten corner of the world, I had felt and witnessed the power a community brings, the strength of solidarity that cuts right across barriers of race and class. Society might be blind to Maria and her neighbors, but they were not about to keep silence.

In the face of adversity, they looked to each other for hope and created communities that planted gardens in vacant lots, cleaned up trash-laden parks, and held those trying to exploit their plight to gain accountability. They may have been forgotten by the world, but they refused to be erased.

I left Maria and her people with their stories, but my heart was weighed down much heavier. What they were suffering was not an isolated incident but echoes of greater injustice ringing across the world.

Among those towering walls of concrete, eaten up by the busy streets, lies a corner unheard of—with the air as thick from the scent of desperation and the soil stained by the sins of greed. However, amidst the darkness, there is light—a flicker of hope that refuses to die.

The struggle does go on—for Maria and her fellow villagers alike—it is a never-ending war with elements entirely beyond their control. Yet, both singularly and in concert, they stand undaunted in the pursuit of justice. Still, determined to let their voices be heard in a world that long ago stopped listening.

I walked out of there, having made a promise to take their stories and tell them—with all my might, against the darkness, against the injustice that sought to silence them. Deep in a forgotten corner, shadowed by the towering factories and forgotten neighborhoods, is a community refusing to be forgotten.

SustainabilityScienceNatureHumanityClimateAdvocacy
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  • The Writer about a month ago

    ohhh maria!

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