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

South side of Chicago
South side of Chicago

- 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

Natural Disasters

flooding from Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina damage

- 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.

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