Public Lab Research note

Climate Change and Environmental Justice: How it impacts and continues to prove to be a disadvantage to the low income and minority population.

by MyrnaRomo | November 14, 2020 00:19 14 Nov 00:19 | #25060 | #25060


Climate change is real. Climate change has been scientifically proven. The evidence is all around us from global temperature rise, shrinking ice sheets, sea level rise, to extreme weather events. But why does this continue to be an issue of controversy and why do so many ignore the issues and continue to go about their days as if it is not an issue of immediate concern?

Our main concern:

How can we support and improve climate change without it having to affect the people that rely on these polluting industries as source of income?

Obstacles and supporting information:

People rely on polluting industries as a source of income and livelihood. Now more than ever during these challenging times we are seeing a decrease in employment and people are taking jobs in industries that are putting their health and the health of the planet in danger.

Who is engaged in this concern?

Organizations involved in supporting Climate Change and Environmental Justice are working on these issues but they are constantly challenged and suppressed due to politics and the need for a healthy economy.

What are the initial questions?



I think yes, you will find that there are environmental justice groups that the climate movement should regard as the leadership, but don't, because of silly ways that people think about the climate issue. In the United States, the CO2 in the air starts at the ground level, where it is mixed with other Hazardous air pollutants that mostly pollute black and native american communities.

The Formosa Plastics proposal, for example, would destroy African American historical sites that were erased by Jim Crow; it would also contribute 13 MT CO2e/yr, at a minimum, just as permitted--not a full carbon impact. That is more Carbon than most nations of the world.

The Shintech expansion in Plaquemine, LA, would add a similar amount of carbon to the atmosphere. it is located in a rural, black area in Louisiana.

Many people will say that climate change is also about the land, and agriculture, but in the united states, agriculture is based on Petrochemical inputs, which are primarily made in Donaldsonville, LA, a black town in "Cancer Alley", which residents are now calling "Death Alley."

The Environmental Integrity Project has comprehensive list of petrochemical expansions::

In a city context, like New Orleans, or Chicago, populations of color have been either pushed to live next to the highway, or the highway was built through their neighborhood, so that the large CO2 emissions from automobiles has a disparate impact on non-white urban residents' lung health.

All of these pollution sources also put out much Particulate Matter, which severely damages long-term lung health, which is needed to survive COVID, but also to thrive economically.

We could all thrive, by making sure that the least of us has a right to a clean environment. What matters in environmental justice communities are the most urgent issues facing the entire world.

@MyrnaRomo resonate with your concerns about working communities needing to be part of the planning and movement away from extractive economies. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, are there specific industries near you that make up the most of economic opportunity?

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@eustatic Wow, never had seen environmental integrity project or the justicemap before! Thanks for sharing these resources. Have you utilized these resources for organizing where you are? Would be interested in hearing your application.

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well, we have added to the EIP project and are trying to expand it with them. they have a major update coming mid 2021! great group of researchers. is excellent, use it everyday, although it's in need of an update.

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Wanted to share this tool that supports both focusing on EJ communities and advocacy, through the current research area of mapping!

As the Biden Administration has launched the government-wide Justice40 Initiative with the goal of delivering 40 percent of the overall benefits of relevant federal investments to disadvantaged communities and tracks performance toward that goal through the establishment of an Environmental Justice Scorecard.

This tool, EJScreen, is an EPA mapping tool that lawyers for opponents of the Formosa Plastics Group complex used to demonstrate that residents of Welcome, located in Louisiana's St. James Parish, face an elevated risk of cancer due to industrial activity in their community.

This tool exemplifies the importance of public maps to identify disadvantaged communities, especially from a from an enforcement and policy-setting perspective and what the federal government will prioritize.

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