Juneteenth: let’s talk about how climate change affects Black communities
Metaphorically speaking, in the climate change horror film, the black friend dies first.
And here's why.
Poor Air Quality
- 68% of Black Americans live within 30 miles of a coal plant - one of the biggest sources of carbon pollution
- Black children are ten times more likely to die as a result of asthma complications compared to white children
- Those exposed to small pollution particles are more at risk for lung disease, heart disease and premature death
Limited Access to Green Space
- Green spaces help clean the air of pollutants and lower temperatures in cities
- Housing segregation has trapped Black families in neighborhoods with little shade from trees and often limited access to cars and air conditioning
- Studies suggest that Black Americans in cities are 50% more likely to die during a heat wave compared to white peers
- Low-income Americans are more likely to suffer from the consequences of tropical storms due to inadequate infrastructure and lack of proper insurance
- Minority populations are also more likely to live near industrial facilities and are therefore at a higher risk for chemical spills and toxic leaks resulting from tropical storms
- White communities with significant damage from natural disasters saw an increase in wealth due to generous reinvestment initiatives, while minority communities with similar damage saw a smaller increase or a decrease in wealth
Slavery may have ended, but Black communities are still bound by many disadvantages, including being disproportionately affected by climate change.