Is it one or the other? After debating this topic I quickly realized that you cannot seperate environmental issues from human ones. We are so intertwined with our environment it is hard to pull the two apart. When you speak about workers rights, the right to a safe work environment comes up. A safe work environment includes workers who aren’t getting exposed to harmful chemicals. Toxins that are sprayed on your food or cotton for your clothes affect the farmers cultivating that food. People get sick due to these chemicals. Also those who are exposed to toxic chemicals in other industries have health issues related to chemicals. If it doesn’t affect the workers directly, it can affect communities living in the areas where they use these chemicals. Chemicals get leaked into the water systems or he air and people get sick from that water or breathing in the air. Things like asbestos that damages the lungs, fracking that has caused water pollution to the point people could light their tap water on fire, and toxic chemicals being leaked into water systems like the most recent incident where lead was found Flint, Michigan’s water system. You can also take the perspective of indigenous people and the land. When you respect indigenous rights, you are respecting the environment. Most indigenous cultures around the world rely heavily on the land they live on. The ideas are sometimes far from western values of land ownership and rights to extract resources out of the land. Many indigenous cultures don’t seperate the land into plots like the western ideology teaches us to. Sure there are territories but their is a respect for the land not found in our society today. I am not talking for any indigenous groups but there is something to be said about living more interconnected with the land. Many indigenous groups have spoken out about environmental issues as it greatly impacts the human rights of these people. A recent example was at the Paris climate summit where indigenous rights were drafted out of the legally binding agreement last minute. Mining, oil, and logging companies have been constantly encroaching on the only pieces of indigenous land left. This encroachment has left a grave impact on indigenous communities along with the world at large. The estimated temperature increase is alarming and the disrespect of the environment is not the sole reason to blame. Human rights are environmental rights.

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