Not-So-Silent Spring

Let’s Talk Environmental Justice

Image by Alexei Talimonov

On Monday morning Flat World attended the official results presentation of the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health. The Commission’s results, which underwent two years of peer review [shudder], were relayed by hundreds of media outlets. They revealed that global pollution causes 9 million premature deaths every year, or 16% of all global deaths. 92% of these deaths occur in low and middle-income countries.
 
When Flat World thinks about environmental injustice, we think about positive correlation between pollution exposure and poverty. Pollution exposure helps steepen the slope of socioeconomic immobility — it sickens people living in slums to the point where they can’t work, and simultaneously increases their expenses.
 
One bright spot of the Commission’s report is its finding that pollution mitigation yields large economic returns. US investment in air pollution control has yielded an aggregate economic benefit of $1.5T, from a total investment of $65b. We see a role for private investors in this favorable return profile.

Tucker Pribor, Fall Analyst

The Chinese government is shutting down tens of thousands of factories for inspections as part of air pollution mitigation efforts. One textile exporter said it was reminiscent of the aftermath of the Clean Water Act in the US.

Think Beyond Plastic is an incubator for companies that are developing bio-based or bio-benign alternatives to fossil-fuel based plastics.

Senator Cory Booker introduced an environmental justice bill yesterday that would require agencies to address environmental dangers posed to minority and low-income communities.

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