Confronting Environmental Racism: Voices from the Grassroots

By Robert D. Bullard | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8

Sustainable Development at Ganados del Valle

Laura Pulldo

The environmental justice movement has not devoted enough attention to sustainable development -- a proactive form of environmental organizing. Yet sustainable development is essential for all people of color. This is particularly so for Latinos who suffer not only from unwise environmental politics but also from growing poverty, cultural denigration, and a lack of political power.

Most environmental problems result from economic activity. Hence, it is necessary to confront the racist polices and environmentally damaging practices of U.S. and multinational corporations ( Mann 1990, 1991). In addition, both our economic and environmental problems require stronger responses than increasing affirmative action or dealing with environmental problems on the consumer level.

This chapter presents a case study of Ganados del Valle, a community development group in northern New Mexico, which seeks to create environmentally sustainable alternatives to corporate economic practices by combining appropriate resource use, workplace democracy, and enhancement of the local culture. It exemplifies how culturally appropriate, sustainable development might occur in other disenfranchised communities.


Sustainable Development

Sustainable development has two aspects: ecological and social ( Douglas 1984). Development is socially sustainable when it provides a livable wage and ensures that workers do not live under the threat of job loss. Likewise, it is neither racist nor sexist. It allows the development of each worker's skills and personality while building on diverse cultural backgrounds. Development is ecologically sustainable when it

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