A sacrifice zone or sacrifice area is a geographic area that has been permanently impaired by environmental damage or economic disinvestment. It can be a specific area suffering from terrible housing conditions that cause numerous health issues, farmers exposed to chemicals each day and neighborhoods positioned right next to toxic plants or landfills.
Fossil fuels require what journalist Naomi Klein calls “sacrifice zones” – places and communities damaged or destroyed by fossil fuel drilling and mining. Politicians and other decision-makers tend to overlook these harms and injustices and most people are generally unaware of these issues.
The environmental justice movement encompasses the grassroots struggles of residents of “sacrifice zones”: low-income and racialized communities shouldering more than their fair share of environmental harms related to pollution, contamination, toxic waste, and heavy industry (Dayna Nadine Scott and Adrian A. Smith, 2017).