Article Title

The Visible Spectrum


Today, the national environmental movement is entering a new phase, led by new players, just as the still young environmental protection movement is becoming more politically influential at the local level. The political power of the environmental justice and equity movement and its links with racial and social justice organizations makes its potential impact reach far beyond “NIMBY” (not-in-my-backyard) protests. NIMBY was the first wave of quasi-organized local environmental protests, usually rooted in a single issue. Environmental justice is the next wave, drawing in a broader range of concerns. The focus of this analysis is on how environmental issues are manifesting themselves in the Greenpoint/Williamsburg area of Brooklyn. The experience of West Harlem in opposing the operation of the North River Treatment Plant is also examined. In both instances the social class and ethnic identity of these grassroots environmentalists significantly differ from those of the environmental activists of previous generations.