Not in My Backyard


“NIMBY- not in my backyard: used to express opposition by local citizens to the locating in their neighborhood of a civic project, as a jail, garbage dump, or drug rehabilitation center, that, though needed by the larger community, is considered unsightly, dangerous, or likely to lead to decreased property values.”

In class we discussed direct and indirect experiences with nature. When people have direct contact with environmental issues, they are more likely to want to change the situation. The people who are not directly affected by pollution, poor waste management, and over population will be able to not worry about these problems and delay fixing them. This is idea is commonly referred to as not in my back yard syndrome (NIMBY). Unsightly or potentially dangerous operations often are placed in poorer areas where the citizens have little political/ financial influence. These poor communities often suffer greatly from these industries and dumps, yet they rarely reap any reward. We see this now in Standing Rock, in Flint Michigan, and in fracking towns of poor rural Ohio.

I think the location of mining towns, city dumps, and heavy industry is an important factor on why certain legislation isn’t being created to make our country more environmentally friendly. Poorer neighborhoods are usually subject to other social and financial burdens along with environmental and public health issues. This makes it even harder for them to make changes on poor environmental practices which affect them. More affluent neighborhoods can easily take swift action when environmental problems arise in their neighborhoods or when something unwanted, like industry or a dump is proposed to be in their neighborhood. This effects the citizens “sense of place” depending on what their neighborhoods are subjected to and what their neighborhoods can block. NIMBY syndrome can affect the self-identity and the collective identity of the people in these communities. I think in turn this will shape the view of how we perceive country wide and global scale environmental issues. In my opinion it also affects how urgent the need for political action on certain issues seems, depending on where you live and what issues your smaller community faces.

-Katie McNulty



5 thoughts on “Not in My Backyard

  1. Unfortunately, poor ares is where a majority of this action takes place and as we discussed in class there are wide disparity in life expectancy according to zip codes. In these poor ares the pollution in the air can have a tremendous affect. However, those who are not affected in these ares view it as out of site out of mind mentality.

    Ali Danesh


  2. Back with the United States was establishing its power grid there was an important decision to be made. AC or DC. We obviously went with AC for its ability to use a transformer and be transmitted great distances with far less power loss BUT i often wonder what our technology would look like if we had gone with DC. Had we gone with DC, there would be a power plant in every neighborhood. Not as big as our power plants today obviously, as they only have to service the area they’re in. However, if that were the case I can’t imagine it taking very long for green technology to roll out and we’d probably be on 100% renewables by now. Being able to put power generation in the background, behind the scenes, is both the greatest benefit and most destructive trait of AC power.

    Dylan Nourse


  3. It’s sad that this happens to poor communities all over the country and those people don’t have any pull in the government to change it either. You never see landfills, dumps, and even power plants in wealthy neighborhoods because if something like that is even proposed it gets changed. In the case of standing rock, the pipeline was originally suppose to pass through Bismarck but was soon changed to pass through Indian reservations. Hopefully one day these problems can be resolved.

    Jacob Fischer


  4. In one of my other classes my professor showed us this cool new sampling device that can be carried around by anyone. It measures a wide array of things including co2, noise, and other air pollutants. It also connects to the users smart phone and from there it can be sent to scientist or city planners who can use the data. I feel as if this would be a great device for people living in poorer areas with these problems. Maybe it can finally give them a bigger voice and bring these pollutant problems to the forefront!

    Edwin Doll


  5. NIMBY has been replaced with NOPE! Not On Planet Earth. Blue Ash and Kenwood are full of NOPE signs.



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