Both Bilott’s and Bigelow and Swineheart’s articles discuss a major key topic/point of environmental justice: poor people and the suffering they endure throughout the process of mass consumerism. Bigelow and Swineheart’s article discusses the thought that everything in the world is deeply interconnected; however, because of mass consumerism and the processes in which such occurs, this connection is strained. Poor people often are the ones who face the awful byproducts of consumerism head-on. Bigelow and Swineheart discuss Cancer Valley and how low income/homeless people living in this area faced higher rates of cancer due to ingesting toxins 24/7. The authors also touch on ethics in environmental justice, noting that many people (especially in higher positions of power) do the bare minimum, citing an example in which someone claims moral high ground for recycling when a colleague does not do the same. However, this person in question is not aware of how plastic ends up “recycled”, and this ignorance perpetuates the “out of sight, out of mind” cycle.
Bilott’s story discusses a similar topic, but from a first person perspective. It describes a cattle farmer’s struggle with dry spells and dirty water, which in turn poisoned his cattle (along with the surrounding wildlife inhabiting the area). He cites the source of the problem very early on: a landfill pipe dumping toxic waste into the mouth of Dry Run. In the same way that Bigelow and Swineheart’s article touches on an “out of sight, out of mind” mindset adopted by many (especially big corporations), Billot does the same. He emphasizes the fact that nobody has come to help this struggling cattle farmer. Page 6 has a great line that sends this point home well: “He didn’t believe it anymore. Anyone could see that something was terribly wrong, not only with the landfill itself but with the agencies responsible for monitoring it. Did they think no one would notice? Did they think he would just sit by (Bilott 6)?”