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Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Volume 25, Issue 1, Spring 2019

James Rocha
Pages 5-20

Environmental Racism and Privileged Consumerism

Environmental racism concerns the ways in which environmental protections are unfairly distributed along racial lines. One outcome of environmental racism is that environmental degradation does not harm us all equally, with oppressed racial groups facing greater burdens. Consequently, members of privileged groups can more comfortably engage in environmentally destructive consumerism because they will neither initially nor primarily face the worst impact from environmental destruction. I will argue that the ability to feel comfortable while engaging in environmentally destructive consumerism is a form of racism, and that this racism strengthens the blameworthiness of such privileged consumerism.