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Activism

June 05, 2020 - The New Yorker

Racism, Police Violence, and the Climate Are Not Separate Issues

Racism, Police Violence, and the Climate Are Not Separate Issues
Scene: Washington D.C. June 2, 2020Credit: Ryan Kosmides

Having a racist and violent police force in your neighborhood is a lot like having a pollution-emitting factory in your neighborhood.

I find that lots of people are surprised to learn that, by overwhelming margins, the two groups of Americans who care most about climate change are Latin Americans and African-Americans. But, of course, those communities tend to be disproportionately exposed to the effects of global warming: working jobs that keep you outdoors, or on the move, on an increasingly hot planet, and living in densely populated and polluted areas. (For many of the same reasons, these communities have proved disproportionately vulnerable to diseases such as the coronavirus.) One way of saying it is that money buys insulation, and white people, over all, have more of it.

Over the years, the environmental movement has morphed into the environmental-justice movement, and it’s been a singularly interesting and useful change.

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The New Yorker


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