Environmental Justice is Social Justice


In 1994, President Clinton signed into law Executive Order #12898 that required the following: 

Each Federal agency shall make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations.”

It has been proven that we cannot address environment justice unless we tactical social justice. This form of social injustice clearly obvious when you look at the locations of various environmental destruction throughout history caused by mankind.

Recently, we experienced the Thomas Fire in Santa Barbara county and there was an issue about the emergency evacuation information not being delivered in Spanish. This issue was addressed by Santa Barbara’s Assemblymember Monique Limon in September 2018 with the introduction of AB 1877 (Limón) Office of Emergency Services: 15320communications: notifications: translation. This bill was signed into law by Governor Brown on September 21, 2018. This bill would require the Office of Emergency Services to create a library of translated emergency notifications and a translation style guide, as specified, and would require designated alerting authorities, as defined, to consider using the library and translation style guide that may be used by designated alerting authorities when issuing emergency notifications to the public. The bill would authorize the office to require a city, county, or city and county to translate emergency notifications as a condition of approving its application to receive any voluntary grant funds with a nexus to emergency management performance.

SDOHAccording to Health People 2020, “ the importance of addressing the social determinants of health by including “Create social and physical environments that promote good health for all” as one of the four overarching goals for the decade. The Social Determinants of Health topic area within Healthy People 2020 is designed to identify ways to create social and physical environments that promote good health for all. All Americans deserve an equal opportunity to make the choices that lead to good health. But to ensure that all Americans have that opportunity, advances are needed not only in health care but also in fields such as education, childcare, housing, business, law, media, community planning, transportation, and agriculture.”

Examples of social determinants include:

  • Availability of resources to meet daily needs (e.g., safe housing and local food markets)
  • Access to educational, economic, and job opportunities
  • Access to health care services
  • Quality of education and job training
  • Availability of community-based resources in support of community living and opportunities for recreational and leisure-time activities
  • Transportation options
  • Public safety
  • Social support
  • Social norms and attitudes (e.g., discrimination, racism, and distrust of government)
  • Exposure to crime, violence, and social disorder (e.g., presence of trash and lack of cooperation in a community)
  • Socioeconomic conditions (e.g., concentrated poverty and the stressful conditions that accompany it)
  • Residential segregation
  • Language/Literacy
  • Access to mass media and emerging technologies (e.g., cell phones, the Internet, and social media)
  • Culture

As a member of the health care profession social determinates are a growing number of issues within and outside of the health care system. Outside of the health care system, initiatives seek to shape policies and practices in non-health sectors in ways that promote health and health equity. Inside the health care system,there are multi-payer federal and state initiatives as well as Medicaid-specific initiatives focused on addressing social needs.



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