While globalization has benefited humanity in some ways, it has also caused pollution, damaged ecosystems, contributed to climate change, and disproportionately harmed impoverished people and communities of color.
In many areas, people have suffered serious environmental harm because of globalization. According to the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR), “The rise of economic globalization, marked by liberalized trade rules and the dominance of multinational corporations, has played a key role in shifting environmental pollution from industrialized to developing countries. This distributional shift can be seen most prominently in the export of polluting industries and hazardous wastes from developed countries to poor, developing countries in Africa, South America, and Asia. Weak environmental regulations and lax enforcement of laws foster this shift, supported by trade rules that force developing countries to make trade-offs between environmental protection and economic prosperity.”
Pollution has left people in some areas with limited access to water, and the water they have access to may be contaminated with pollutants that can endanger their health. Plastic waste has become a serious problem in many parts of the world, with plastic containers filling bodies of water and washing up on beaches.
These changes have had dramatic effects on the environment and on fish, animals, and plants. In some cases, populations of animals and fish have dramatically declined, which has devastated local economies. Small pieces of plastic in the water supply also pose risks to people because plastic that is ingested can harm human health.
The growth of manufacturing has led to widespread air pollution. In some cities, the sky is so thick with pollution that it is difficult for people to breathe when they walk down the street. Poor air quality can cause asthma and other respiratory problems that can have dangerous consequences, especially for children, the elderly, and individuals with other medical conditions.
Pollution from manufacturing and other sources can also impact soil quality. If soil becomes contaminated with pollutants, food that is grown there can also become contaminated. People who consume those crops may later develop cancer and other illnesses.
In some cases, soil that has been contaminated is unsuitable for agriculture. That means that farmers must look for new places to grow crops, figure out how to get by with less income from farming, or look for another way to support their families.
The burning of fossil fuels has led to a sharp increase in levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and contributed to climate change. People who live in urban and coastal areas and those who depend on fishing to earn a living are disproportionately affected. Weather-related disasters that are linked to climate change also disproportionately impact those groups.
Climate change has led to rising sea levels that have threatened coastal communities. In some cases, people have been forced to abandon areas that they and their families have called home for generations and relocate to higher ground to live in relative safety.
Around the world, groups who have been most affected by climate change are disproportionately made up of people of color. Those communities were often already struggling to deal with environmental degradation and a variety of health problems.
How Globalization Can Perpetuate Inequality
Globalization, economic changes, and environmental laws and regulations have contributed to inequitable distributions of environmental hazards, such as landfills and chemical plants, and environmental amenities, such as protected bodies of water and open spaces.
Impoverished communities, developing countries, and communities of color have disproportionately suffered the effects of climate change, deforestation, depletion of the ozone layer, and declines in biodiversity. People in those places generally do not have adequate resources to address the effects of environmental change. Changes to their environments and ways of life can slow or halt their development efforts and can lead to entrenched socioeconomic inequality.
Legal Help for Communities Suffering the Effects of Globalization
Globalization has led to improvements in communication and has made people around the world more interconnected than ever, but it has been destructive in other ways. Globalization has harmed ecosystems, many of which were already fragile. Pollution and climate change have caused radical changes in landscapes that have affected people, animals, and plants that live in those areas. Those changes have devastated economies and dramatically disrupted people’s lives.
Ben Crump Law, PLLC is committed to pursuing environmental justice. We understand the complex factors associated with globalization and the myriad ways they can impact communities around the globe. We recognize that the most vulnerable people are often those who suffer the most and see little or no benefit.
Our team has used litigation to seek justice on behalf of people who have been devastated by globalization and environmental injustice. Contact us today at (800) 959-1444 to learn how we may be able to help people in your community.