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Environmental Justice and the Role of Civil Society in Sustainability

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In a country or state, there consists of other parts which entail diversified individuals. For instance, Kenya, as a country, comprises different people who come from diverse regions, tribes, religions, and with distinct cultures. In these regions, there are individuals and families: Some who are wealthy while others are poor. However, even with all the diversities, all of them share one nationality, Kenyans.

The concept of environmental justice:

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Diversity has caused conflicts whereby people do not embrace brotherhood. In some instances, the unfortunate may be taken advantage of. For instance, they may have to cut down their trees to make charcoal or timber which they can trade and earn a living; thus, end up compromising their environment. This makes them vulnerable to diseases that are a result of ecological harm.In another instance, a well-off person may take advantage of his wealth and power to place his animals in a residential area so that he can earn cash from milk. He then decides to build his house in a distant area and employs the workforce to take care of the animals and milk production. He neither buys nor advises them of protective clothing, yet they are dealing with waste disposal.These workers get exposed to respiratory diseases. Besides, they conflict with the people living around. There should be no cow investment in residential areas . Because releasing waste in such an area means that it will pollute the air of neighbours who may, in turn, fight the ones releasing it. If they are desperate and illiterate, they may be left to stay quiet and inhale the waste because they lack the power and are ignorant of human rights.

Moreover, whenever environmental regulations are discussed, the underprivileged and the middle people may not be allowed to participate. All these examples explain injustice. Environmental justice is whereby every individual or community is entitled to a clean, equivalent environmental protection regardless of the religion, race, origin, age, gender or income and takes part in making decisions that pertain to implementation or enforcement of laws governing the environment.

The concept of sustainability:

Sustainability seeks to meet the needs of the present generation without jeopardizing future generations’ ability to meet the same needs. Zero environmental justice equals sustainability: If natural resources are overused, they degrade and, in the long last, put off sustainability. Many actors are involved in the promotion of sustainability, and civil society plays a vital role ; hence this paper analyses the role of civil society in promoting sustainability.

The civil society:

Some groups of individuals come together intending to work jointly for the benefits of another society where they set up offices or areas in the given society to operate from. They are collectively called civil societies; organizations, or groups that work together for the interest of the community (Macdonald, 2016).

Environmental sustainability:

In efforts to promote sustainable development, civil society has been a vital stakeholder, especially in developing countries. One component of sustainability is the environmental pillar, which is the right use of the environment to provide the present generation while protecting it from damage.For instance, think of walking around a garden, and then you spot a mango tree that is enriched with beautiful mangoes. Unfortunately, the mangoes are beyond your reach. Therefore you visualize ways of obtaining them; through climbing the tree, using stone, or getting a panga with which you can cut the tree and harvest all the mangoes.Climbing a tree is a good idea if you are careful. Using a stone too is right to strike the mango. However, cutting down the tree means that in the next season, there will be no mangoes. Birds, as well as microorganisms, will have no shelter.Also, the tree was issuing people with oxygen vital for breathing and taking away carbon (IV) oxide in addition to providing shelter and rain for growth of crops. Such an act compromises the environmental pillar of sustainability, along with exposing everyone at risk. The civil society has helped prevent such circumstances.

The contribution of civil society to sustainable development:

To begin with, it ensures everyone takes part in matters of the environment. Public participation is the involvement of citizens or the public in making decisions . An example is whereby you vote to elect your leaders. Any project in a community must affect the people.Civil society ensures that there are actions like EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment), which must involve the community. This helps avoid adverse effects through mitigation and prevention.For instance, someone may want to build an oil factory in the community. The facility will outsource oil and even create jobs. What about the environment and welfare of people living around? What will they do with the noise, air pollution, and waste materials which may be released to the rivers which they depend on?

All these issues must involve the public to make a wise decision. With no one to push the participation, the innocent community might just be caught up in a dilemma with no one to help their suffering and degraded resources.Secondly, the civil sector helps the community with change through awareness and support. They monitor the activities which may harm the environment and inform the public about their dangers and prevention measures.They also help people to seek change. Activities existing in the community which threaten the environment can be done away with to prevent degradation and extinction with their help.This sector can involve environmental bodies like NEMA, where the need arises. For example, an industry that dumps its waste in the estate is a threat to life and resources like land and water. The public in the countryside may not know that there are rules and rights to a clean environment, so the civil society educates them and helps them in advocacy.Thirdly, ignorance is a challenge today. Most people, especially in rural areas, know nothing about sustainability. This sector has played a role in sustainability consciousness. It has made people aware of the importance and conservation of indigenous trees.Furthermore, it educates the public with practices like sustainable energy use, and this helps the public to save from bills that come with electricity. Where there is no electricity, they provide awareness of prospects that come with sun and wind to light their houses. These sources of energy are renewable hence cheap to obtain, very usable, and maintain a healthy environment.

Finally, it acts as an overseer in community and ecological issues through transparency with accountability. It makes every stakeholder answerable for their behaviour on the environment through close supervision and assessment.Involving the civil sector in environmental guidelines, along with the execution, is crucial. One example is that it can persuade the government to implement the policies and allocate disbursements in managing the environment as well as promote partnerships among organizations to support sustainability.

Conclusion:

The civil society requires collaboration from the local community if sustainable development is to be effectively achieved. Every individual must play a role in issuing useful information. Furthermore, everyone’s practices affect the environment. Just the same way security starts with you, so is sustainability.

Taking care of the environment is each person’s duty. Practices like deforestation, poor waste disposal, the release of agricultural chemicals to rivers, and above all, public participation are vital if both the present and the future generations are to enjoy the benefits of natural resources.  

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