Written by Elizabeth Early, Communications-Programs Intern
Known as the father of environmental justice, Dr. Bullard is a Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning at Texas Southern University and has received achievement awards from the National Wildlife Foundation, Sierra Club, and the United Nations Environment Program. Dr. Bullard has had a great influence on the environmental justice movement as it seeks to emphasize that race and class still matter and map closely with pollution, unequal protection, and vulnerability. As Texans, we are proud of the work he has done to highlight the importance of equity in environmental initiatives.
According to Dr. Bullard, environmental justice is “the principle that all people and communities have a right to equal protection and equal enforcement of environmental laws and regulations.” Dr. Bullard’s first book, Dumping in Dixie, found that Black neighborhoods, especially in the south, are disproportionately targeted as sites for municipal garbage, hazardous waste, and polluting industries. Dr. Bullard’s research merged the work of environmental advocates and civil rights activists into an intersectional movement that believes all people deserve equal access to a safe and clean environment.
At Keep Texas Beautiful, we are inspired by the principles of environmental justice that Dr. Robert Bullard played a fundamental role in developing. Keep Texas Beautiful’s vision of clean, safe, and beautiful communities extends to all Texans. Through training and grant opportunities, we encourage our affiliates to incorporate diversity and equity into their work. This helps to ensure that our beautification efforts honor the integrity of our communities and provide fair access to natural resources for all Texans.
With the help of Dr. Bullard and the environmental justice movement, future generations of Texans will live in a more equitable world, where everyone has access to nature. Keep Texas Beautiful’s Young Texan Ambassador program was founded on the idea that future generations will be instrumental in protecting our state’s natural beauty for all Texans to enjoy. Through YTA, we seek to empower a network of young Texans to promote environmental justice in their own ways in communities all around the state. As Dr. Bullard once said, “The quest for justice is not a sprint, it’s a marathon relay where we must pass the baton to the next generation.”