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Hoodstock wants to tackle environmental racism in Montreal-North

The population of Montreal-North is more affected than elsewhere by climate change, which would make it a victim of “environmental racism”, according to members of Hoodstock, an organization that promotes social justice and the fight against systemic inequalities.

Cathy Ramirez and Fatima Terhini are respectively Mobilization Officer and Research Development and Funding Officer at Hoodstock. They participated Wednesday in a virtual conference of the Order of Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists of Quebec on the theme of climate justice.

Supporting data, they illustrated how Robert Bullard’s theory of environmental justice and the concept of redistributive justice apply to Montreal-North..

They explained to what extent the development of the neighborhood, the lack of green spaces and poor public transport mean that climate change has an exacerbated effect on the population of Montreal-North, and particularly on marginalized groups.

«It is because of their ethnic origin that they are placed in places where density is high and where housing is unsanitary, while keeping them away from political decisions, ”explains Cathy Ramirez in an interview.

From the bottom to the top

The two speakers, students in social sciences, are keen on knowledge being inspired “from the bottom of the tower”, from the base, from the people at the heart of the population.

“We live what we study even in our bodies, in our flesh. For us, it’s important to go beyond theories, not to stay in the clouds, ”says Cathy Ramirez.

She recalls that in Hoodstock, the research is closely linked to action in the field.

Her colleague Fatima Terhini adds: the desire to get out of environmental racism goes first and foremost by recognizing the problems experienced by people in the neighborhood, but also by the solutions they have to propose. “What we are asking for is recognition of our problems, but also of our solutions,” she sums up.

In Montreal North, we have a particular way of thinking about the environment, and we have ideas for fighting climate change. What we are asking for is recognition of our problems, but also of our solutions.

Fatima Terhini, Research Development and Funding Officer at Hoodstock

Enhance the essential trades

But how to include people more in the political decisions which affect their environment?

Cathy Ramirez and Fatima Terhini believe that we must first revalue the essential jobs carried out by marginalized people, in particular by reducing their working hours so that they can engage in the community.

They insist: to fight climate change, we must also tackle the deep roots of social and economic inequalities, and racism.

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