Louisville’s 'Black Lives Matter' Demonstrations Continue a Long Quest for Environmental Justice
Three years ago, city officials looked at various socio-economic factors, as well as the environment, and documented startling disparities of as much as 10 to 12 years in life expectancy between neighborhoods.
John Gilderbloom, the University of Louisville professor, dug more deeply into these differences in the study he and two co-authors published in April, honing in on the question of how much of Louisville's lifespan disparity can be explained by living in polluted neighborhoods.
They found that one of the major causes of premature deaths was the proximity to Rubbertown's toxic contaminants, an effect that ranked fourth after the risk factors of race, income and crime. Living near old, contaminated brownfield properties also had an effect on life expectancy.
Taken together, living near Rubbertown and near brownfield sites explained as much as 75 percent of the lifespan variance among Louisville neighborhoods, according to their paper, published in Local Environment, an international scientific journal that deals with issues related to justice and sustainability.
"Neighborhoods matter," said Gilderbloom, the University of Louisville professor of planning and urban affairs, because they "shape our life chances. People want health, prosperity and safety. West Louisville is one of the worst in the nation, whether you are white or Black."
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Louisville’s 'Black Lives Matter' Demonstrations Continue a Long Quest for Environmental Justice (Inside Climate News, June 21, 2020) & (WFPL, June 24, 2020)