Environmental injustice is real. We must talk about it and take action. Call on the political parties to take immediate action!
The climate crisis and the environmental degradation disproportionately harm vulnerable populations.
Populations are overexposed to environmental hazards in areas of Quebec, for example, because they live near polluting factories, highways or in neighbourhoods where there are hardly any trees or parks to lower the temperature during heat waves.
Often, their voices are not heard when projects affecting their environment and their health are developed where they live.
These populations are very often underprivileged, immigrant, racialized or Indigenous.
We call these situations environmental injustice.
We can and must take action to fight this injustice.
Here are a series of recommendations that would allow Quebec to catch up and play a leadership role in the fight against climate change and environmental governance from the perspective of equity, public health and human rights:
- Pass a law to advance environmental justice and establish an environmental justice advisory committee.
- Recognize the right to a healthy environment respectful of biodiversity as a fundamental right and create a process allowing the Quebec population to demand a BAPE (Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement) study when a violation of their right to a healthy environment is suspected.
- Prepare itself to better describe situations of environmental justice.
- Increase public participation in environmental decision making.
- Pass a law to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Quebec, as initiated at the federal level and in British Columbia and take all legislative measures necessary to implement Joyce’s Principle.
- Ensure equity in our environmental measures.
- Make it a formal requirement to consider the impacts on health and on the fight against climate change and to respect the principle of free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples for any project subject to the environmental impact assessment and review process.
Improve the law to ensure the cumulative impacts of projects on the Quebec territory are taken into account.
Because equitable measures will save lives, they will also prevent the creation of ineffective public policies, save outrageous healthcare costs, and ultimately, better prepare us for the future, together.
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