UC Riverside is currently the most vulnerable to environmental injustice out of all 10 UC campuses. According to data provided by CalEnviroScreen 4.0, UCR is confronted with the highest rates of air pollution exposure and environmental hazard in the UC system, with an overall percentile score of 82% (https://oehha.ca.gov/calenviroscreen/report/calenviroscreen-40).
UCR students face disproportionate risks of environmental health hazards due to regional warehousing in the Inland Empire and air pollutants traveling from the greater Los Angeles area from natural air currents (Ober, 2021). Even so, UCR remains one of the few UC campuses without any formal on-campus resource center for environmental and sustainability-focused organizing among students.
Communication between student organizations is limited and environmental organizing is disjointed. These obstacles that are challenging our ability to address the environmental health and sustainability needs of our student body require immediate action. All this taken into consideration, we at UCR’s Green Campus Action Plan are demanding that UCR prioritize our environmental health by encouraging student environmental activism and setting up the infrastructure necessary for a Sustainability Resource Center.
WhAT is Environmental Policy?
Environmental policy can be defined as any measure set by a government, corporation, or other public or private organization regarding the effects of human activities on the environment. Those measures are particularly designed to prevent or reduce the harmful effects of human activities on ecosystems.
WhY is Environmental Policy IMPORTANT?
Environmental policies are important and needed because environmental values are usually not considered in organizational decision-making.
For example, polluters do not usually bear the consequences of their actions because the negative effects most often occur elsewhere or in the future. As a result, continuous self-interested behavior will lead to the depletion of shared limited resources.
Because incentives for individuals to use the commons sustainably are weak, our government has a role in the protection of the commons through the enactment of environmental policies.
What are the goals of environmental policies?
Tackle issues that include (but are not limited to):
● air and water pollution
● waste management
● ecosystem management
● biodiversity protection
● protection of natural resources, wildlife, and endangered species
● management of these natural resources for future generations
Without environmental regulations, our environment will degrade to a point where it is no longer habitable. It is paramount that our government focus significant attention and funding on environmental policies as we only have one Earth, and must do our best to preserve it for future generations to come.