The teacher discussed the environmental impact of societal needs (and wants) like landfills. prisons, plants, airports, and other such public use places on a potential neighborhood and its residents. A common situation is NIMBY, "not in my backyard" where people want the services provided by theres places but want that to happen far away from where they live. It seems almost cold-hearted because by protesting the creation of something in your neighborhood, you most certainly are assigning it to someone else's. This is how we end up with the "nice side of town" and the "rough side of town." With money, the "nimbies" as they are referred to can protest and hound city zoning officials to keep undesired projects away. The rough side of town is always not-surprisingly the urban part full of minorities of low-economic standing. These neighborhoods are easy targets when they get stuck with the liquor stores, strip joints, etc. which lead those kids to grow with the idea that what they see around them is the way you should live. It's very subtle messaging that their lives are of lesser value and it's difficult to teach upward mobility in those conditions (http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1397&context=ulj).
Now it may seem fair, if you work for your money you should be able to protect your home investment and maintain the neighborhood you bought. However, nimbies aren't just a problem for more hazardous, destructive, or distasteful places. According to CleanTechnica, in 2011, 45% of all clean and energy renewable projects were abandoned because of NIMBYism. An example is Ted Kennedy who opposed a wind farm because it would ruin the aesthetic quality of the potential area (http://www.isfoundation.com/news/environment/nimby-phenomenon). Case in point: people are all for environmental sustainability, but not if they have to see it. Basically, we can't save our planet, ourselves or sustain the current societal model if we can't learn to divide up those NIMBY places more evenly, despite their annoyingness. If it's not good enough for your family then it's not good enough for anyone's (and in this spirit those things - chemical laden landfills, strip joints, and liquor stores, etc. - can hopefully be removed or lessened altogether).