In the past, environmentalism focused only on issues of protecting the environment, species, or ecosystems for their own sake, or for the sake of human welfare in general. But they did not investigate how environmental problems affect different groups of people, whether locally within a country, or globally in other parts of the world. When we investigate these issues, we discover that some groups of people are, and have been, subjected to greater environmental injustices than others. For example, racial minorities… and the Global South…

This turns out to be an institutional matter: that is, they are the product of the institutions that structure our societies. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the institutions were deliberately structured this way, although, as we shall see, some of them clearly were. Nevertheless, regardless of how they were formed, we can seek to uncover the institutional causes of environmental injustice, so that we can get to work correcting those imbalances.

Seventeen Principles of Environmental Justice