Environmental Justice on the Web

Phone calls, flyers and word-of-mouth have been drawing attention to environmental justice issues-like the location of garbage incinerators in low-income, black communities -- for decades. But now more than 100,000 online documents are devoted to environmental justice issues, activists are also turning to the World Wide Web for information and support.EcoNet, part of the Institute of Global Communications' network of activist-oriented sites, hosts the EcoJustice Network. It provides information on current issues "facing communities of color in the U.S.," as well as contact information on activist groups, a bulletin board and calendar of eco-justice events and links to related websites. Other sites accessible via EcoNet include: The Indigenous Environmental Network, EPA's Office of Environmental Justice, The Cesar Chavez Web Page, Chicano-Latino Net, The Environmental Inequality Homepage, The South African Exchange Program on Environmental Justice, The Urban Habitat Program of the Earth Island Institute, the Southeast Alliance for Environmental Justice, and RTK NET, whose Right-to-Know (RTK) Network provides coverage of toxic, health and economic data, access to EPA documents, and an extensive bibliography.The South Central Oklahoma Environmental Justice Resource Center, in addition to its original material (including an interesting newsletter), also hosts links to related sites, including documents, regional coverage and governmental resources. Explorative sites for Native American issues in addition to The Indigenous Environmental Network include Native Americans and the Environment and Native Americans and Environmental Justice.Other sites focusing on minority issues include the Department of the Navy's Environmental Justice Program, the Environmental Justice Database, the Whittier College Environmental Justice Project, and the Environmental Justice Clinic Homepage hosted by the Thurgood Marshall School of Law.Since new sites are being added all the time, and addresses change, the most current information can be had by browsing Alta Vista or Excite by entering the search words "environmental justice." And there's online activity outside the World Wide Web, too, including the Usenet newsgroup misc.activism.progressive.CONTACT: The EcoJustice Network, Presidio Building 1012, First Floor, Torney Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94129-0904/ (415)561-6100/alair@econet.apc.org.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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