For social justice, action
needed to stem pollution
Michael Paul Williams' words in his Sept. 1 column — "If Black lives matter, we must defund the polluters" — are pure truth. "If" is the question, and the answer has been obvious for decades.
Black lives have not mattered. Poor lives have not mattered. The only thing that has mattered was the convenience of dumping waste in waterways and polluting areas that were not readily visible, so that people of means could pretend that life was beautiful. The companies that provided all the discarded stuff have not only gotten away with murder. They have received special tax benefits and government support to enable it.
Telling the truth is not what a polite society does, so things go along the way they always have. Williams often has told the truth — won praise and prizes for it — then things go along the way they always have. The powers-that-be tear down or cover up what they don’t want to see. Push them to another part of town, to the edge or — even better — completely out of town.
Those of us who know Virginia's history know about the use of Black communities as dumping grounds — a part of Jim Crow that has lingered. In spite being touted by oil companies, the bait-and-switch games of offsets and trading carbon credits won’t fix it. We must get off fossil fuels and their products. We need a fee on carbon paid by the extractors, producers and sellers, with proceeds going as dividends to those who have had to live with the poisons.