April 6, 2016
By Kathleen Mannard
At first, I was unsure how the environment and the feminist movement intertwined. However, upon further research, I realized how important maternal and women’s health is to the overall public and environment, as well as how women have a long history in the region’s environmental movement. I would not know about women and the environment without the groups “Women for a Healthy Environment” and “New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice.”
The “Women for a Healthy Environment” is a group of women in Pittsburgh hoping to raise awareness about the environmental links associated with women’s health. The group educates both women and men on the issues while also promoting a healthier environment for the Western Pennsylvania region. They carry out programs for healthy moms, infants, homes and communities. These include support and advocacy for federal reforms of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Safe Cosmetics Acts, and the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act and more.
“New Voices Pittsburgh” calls for all justices for black women, including environmental justices. Their vision hopes to promote the well-being of black women, girls and communities while considering all of the dimensions of health, such as cultural, physical, emotional, environmental and more. Black women’s health is tied to clean air and respiratory issues in which representative Carmen Alexander voiced her concern stating, “We want everyone to know that we support a stronger clean power plan, and that we know that our communities are dying due to respiratory issues.” Their mission includes informing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the severe disproportionate pollution for low-income and minority communities.
These two organizations located in Pittsburgh do more than promote a healthier environment for women and communities in Western Pennsylvania, but also the world as a whole. They represent the issues often unspoken or with less coverage, and I hope to follow their initiatives and projects as reforms are proposed and put into action.