Health of an urban area is vital to its viability to thrive and be sustainable, both of the ecosystem and of the humans themselves. Chicagoans know this all too well-we as a city needed to reverse the Chicago River in 1900 because the unsanitary conditions were harming both parties. There is a different environmental battle being fought today, though this time the residents’ health is being affected by humans and their use, rather than a natural flow of a waterway. In the neighborhood of Little Village, massive coal power plants, Crawford and Fisk plants, have been causing irreversible damage to health of the some 100,000, mainly Latina/o residents (LVEJO). In an effort from non-profits and organizations in the area, they successfully shut down one of worst coal plants. This successful action is impressive and has been a relief in the community, though there are many other toxic plants in the neighborhood and other communities whose health is still being plagued by dirty coal. According to the reading, A Review of the Progress of the European Healthy Cities Programme, the World Health Organization (WHO) says
““Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being, without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.” (Barton and Grant)
Taking this claim into consideration, thinking about the fact that Little Village, and similar communities, are mainly minority and low-income, and that these plants have been spewing toxicity into the air for decades without any regard for the multiple generations of families living in the neighborhood, it certainly seems as if the Latino population in Chicago is being targeted as a community to take advantage of. Thanks to LVEJO and the Chicago Clean Power Coalition, both plants were shut down in fall 2012, making it a healthier and happier place to live and will hopefully inspire similar communities to work collaboratively within their own communities to fight for environmental justice and sustainability.
Barton, Hugh, and Marcus Grant. “A Review of the Progress of the European Healthy Cities Programme.” Journal of Urban Health 90.S1 (2012): 129-41. Web.
“Chicago Clean Power Coalition.” Environmental Law Policy Center. N.p., 4 Apr. 2012. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.
“Coal Plant Shutdown.” LVEJO. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.