By Patrick Novotny
Numerous studies have revealed that the poor disproportionately bear the burden of environmental problems in America today. Issues range from higher levels of poisonous wastes, carbon dioxide, and ozone, to greater than normal incidences of asthma and lead poisoning. The environmental justice movement, which has emerged in working class and low-income African American and Latino communities since the early 1990s, is an effort that is reinterpreting the definition of the environment as "where we live, work, and play" to connect new constituencies traditionally outside of the postwar environmental movement. Novotny documents this expanding constituency through case studies of four community groups ranging from South Central Los Angeles to Louisiana.