Free Paper Example on Environmental Justice: As Long As Grass Grows

Published: 2024-01-20
Free Paper Example on Environmental Justice: As Long As Grass Grows
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Government Justice Books
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1321 words
12 min read


The topic of environmental justice intercalates with the book called As Long As Grass Grows, written by Dina Gillo-Whitaker, which spawns around the injustices, violations of the treaty, and the struggles for security, food, and water. It also highlights some important leadership roles played by the indigenous women in the community's long struggles. It shows the indigenous struggles and resistance to government and corporate incursions on their land (Gilio-Whitaker, 2019). It also brings out some approaches that can be implemented in the dawn of environmental justice, policy, and activism. The paper, therefore, discusses some responses drawn from environmental justice in relation to the book; As Long As Grass Grows.

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How the book examines environmental justice

The book examines the historical and current world view on environmental justice, activism, and policy. It shows the historical struggle that has existed between the natives and the mainstream environmental movement and the tension it brought to America. The writer brings out arguments citing that modern environmentalists must revisit history to learn from the indigenous resistance to gain the knowledge and inspiration necessary to fight for a just and sustainable future. Gilio-Whitaker (2019). traces history to highlight how the indigenous population is closely tied to the environment, as she puts it, an environment they manipulated long before the European settlers' arrival.

She discusses the rising movements on the environment and the development of national parks with racism and white supremacy issues. Gilio-Whitaker delves majorly into the difference between the whites and the natives. She discusses how these differences are recognized or not by both the government. The Native Americans have endured zero respect since the arrival of white Europeans in the name of "white supremacy." The book also discusses the plight of women in the fight for equity. Women are described as strong and share equal rights on many grounds with men, i.e., Native Women's Activism is Born (Gilio-Whitaker, 2019).

As Long As Grass Grow highlights the sufferings the indigenous populations went through, i.e., slavery, starvation, and how they were moved out of their lands. In the examination of environmental justice, this book shows how the Supremes treat the indigenous groups with no respect and disregard the common ground s of existence. Most issues discussed by the writer reeks of white supremacy, and the suppression of the indigenous group still exists in the contemporary world. People are denied their rights in the open racism, and there is more apart from legal setbacks, i.e., water preservation, land, and sacred places (Gilio-Whitaker, 2019). The book features injustices like displacement, lack of equal rights, and genocide, as Gilio-Whitaker puts it, starting with the oppression and suppression of people of a particular culture.

The terms Environmental Justice and Environmental Racism

Environmental Justice

Environmental justice refers to the equal treatment and sensible involvement of all people regardless of national origin race, or color with respect to implementations, development, and environmental law enforcement, policies, and regulations. As Long As Grass Grows broadly discusses the concepts of environmental justice in ways that violate these stipulations. White supremacy is brought out in the suppression and oppression of the indigenous communities through incursions ranging from unfair treatment between them and the whites, land grabbing, genocides, and violation of cultural practices. Indigenous groups have been forced into joining new religious practices, and treaty violations (Gilio-Whitaker 2019).

Class reading also brings out the class difference citing the current global COVID-19 pandemic featuring the people of color to be more vulnerable to the virus, especially those with low income who cannot pay their bills, putting them at a high risk of contracting the disease. This is from the research by the Grassroots activists who have for decades tried to change several government implementations of civil, health, and environmental laws. They have educated and empowered themselves to change the way these regulations and policies are administered. There are so many environmental injustices that have existed since time immemorial and continue today.

As Long As Grass Grows discusses some of the injustices incurred by the indigenous groups under white supremacy, such as starvation, violation of their cultural practices, and slavery, which to some extent still exist today. The natives are not accepted for who they are, and the capitalist brought them to the ground regardless of their rights. As inhabitants of the Native American society, women shared equal rights as men and could even own land. They were considered resourceful in implementations and ideas that brought development and prosperity. Gilio-Whitaker points out that women should rise and fight Environmental injustices for a better future and co-existence.

Environmental Racism

This is from environmental justice and majorly gives the view of disproportionality on various grounds. Class reading shows that environmental racism is a pervasive form of social inequity that majorly revolves around minority communities, i.e., people of color – blacks and the indigenous communities with disregard for their civil, social, and health rights. Racist public policies have left a hazard and environmental impact on the native and indigenous people of America. Citing policies like urban renewal districts and inner-city highway construction leaves environmental risk in areas inhabited by low-income communities – mainly people of color. These hazards include diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses. African Americans are said to be highly susceptible to such diseases as diabetes and hypertension; hence their mortality rates are high compared to the whites. Therefore they are said to be at risk of COVID-19 (COVID-19).

As Long As Grass Grows also shows environmental racism cases from the time of the European arrival and colonization. The natives and indigenous communities were disrespected and taken for slaves, including going to war. New policies were made that only favored the whites. The native's lands were taken from them and owned by the whites, and most of them left as squatters who were also forced to work for the whites to earn income.

Those Affected by Environmental Racism

From the class reading and the book, As Long As Grass Grows, there are several highlights on those impacted by environmental racism. The communities of color, native communities, and low-income communities are the major people affected by environmental racism. Class reading shows that these people are exposed to pollutants that have adverse health effects on them due to discrimination and dumping of pollutants in their neighborhoods. They get limited health care, food deserts, and increased cost of utilities. With the current pandemic, the situation has escalated, and most have lost their sources of income and have their utilities shut off. Reports have shown that COVID-19 is claiming the lives of blacks in the U.S. Climate changes have also intensified things in the U.S.; however, black continues to fight for equal treatment on all grounds (COVID-19).

As Long As Grass Grows also shows environmental racism positing the changes that have taken place since white supremacy took over. The natives were driven away from their lands, slavery, starvation,


The major themes brought out from the class reading are social injustice, white supremacy, and racism. These themes apply throughout the book "As Long As Grass Grows," showing how the indigenous communities suffered at the hands of the whites. The application of white supremacy left the natives in danger and even lost their lands, as well as were forced into slavery. The story begins with people resisting the construction of the pipeline through the community's sacred land of standing rock. The injustices include genocide, slavery, and forced relocation of the native communities. The plight of women is brought out in the book through native women's activism, which shows how women rose in the resistance movement to bring sanity to their community and fight for the future generation.


COVID-19. (n.d.). Home.

Gilio-Whitaker, D. (2019). As long as grass grows: The Indigenous fight for environmental justice from colonization to standing rock.

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