CAN: Act Sustainably

Environmental Social Injustice

Our waste is not a victimless act. After our garbage leaves our homes it goes elsewhere and it has a negative impact on other people.

Environmental Social Injustice occurs when individuals, groups or communities disproportionately bear the burden of environmental hazards. Typically those who bear this burden are in a lower socioeconomic level and are often communities of color. And though this may seem to be a problem found elsewhere, we have this problem here in Westchester. For example, since 1984 much of the garbage from Westchester County and beyond goes to the Peekskill Wheelabrator where it is incinerated. The toxic fumes from burning this garbage has negative health effects on those in the community. This is a complex issue involving many stakeholders and does not provide easy solutions. One way we can individually take action and lessen this burden is to decrease our waste as well as support the efforts to correct these injustices.

Another example is the solution focused work Groundwork Hudson Valley is performing on the negative effects of redlining portions of Yonkers in the early/mid 20th century. Specifically, the negative impact it is having on climate resilience in these communities, including increased susceptibility of these low income areas to heat vulnerability and flooding.

Environmental Justice Virtual Film Screening & Panel Discussion

Ardsley’s Climate Advisory and the Multicultural Diversity Inclusion Committees hosted a free virtual screening of The Sacrifice Zone on January 13, 2022. This 30-minute documentary film focuses on the community activists leading the fight for environmental justice in the Ironbound neighborhood of Newark, NJ, one of the most toxic communities in the country. Following the film screening a panel discussion was facilitated by CAC Chair Eda Kapsis. The panel consisted of:

  • Brigitte Griswold, Executive Director of Groundwork Hudson Valley

  • Courtney Williams, Westchester Alliance for Sustainable Solutions

  • Anjali Sauthoff, Environmental Health Science Consultant and Chair of Health & Community Resilience, Westchester County Climate Crisis Task Force

  • Students from Ardsley High School & Ardsley Middle School

To view the recording of the discussion, click here.

To access the panelists' slides, click here.