Policy Round Up: Climate Change

Written by

Shanel Adams
Shanel Adams Shanel Adams is an editorial assistant with GlobalPolicy.tv. She is a public relations major, political science minor at Howard University originally from Detroit. Shanel is passionate about poverty alleviation and political participation.

Earlier this month, President Obama announced Gina McCarthy as the new administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency and Ernez Moniz as the Secretary of the Department of Energy. These nominations are only a catalyst for a stronger focus on environmental-related policy this term.

Organizing for Action, President Obama’s new grassroots advocacy group, said last week that they will “push for action on climate change”. With more attention being brought to the environment in Washington, experts share commentary on the policy matter. 

Dr. Marshall Sheperd explains climate change’s effect on the African-American community:

“The majority of African Americans live in urban areas. The combination of climate warming, heatwaves, and the urban heat island effect (which causes temperatures in major cities to be warmer than suburban and rural areas) renders many Blacks at risk of suffering heat-related health issues. A 2008 study by The Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative found heat-related deaths among Blacks occur at a 150 to 200 percent greater rate than for non-Hispanic Whites. Cities also tend to have more air pollution and smog — which leads to an array of health complications like asthma.”

Read the full article in Ebony

Mark Herts challenges the stereotype that Latinos and other ethnic minorities are not interested in climate change:

“The notion that Latinos, blacks and Asian-Americans are the nation’s most fervent greens contradicts the stereotype of environmentalists as white, upper-middle-class Prius drivers. And that stereotype contains enough truth that the emergence of a super-green constituency of minorities and youth—a constituency likely to grow as America’s demographic transition unfolds—presents enormous but challenging opportunities for mainstream environmental groups. In most cases, those groups rhetorically affirm the value of diversity even as their operations remain dominated by white, middle-aged staffers and funders and the strategies and tactics they pursue.”

Read the full article in the New America Foundation

Jing Jin suggests that environmentalists need to embrace minority demographics:

“Environmental groups can be guilty of dancing around population issues or being ignorant of social issues arising from changing demographics. Environmentalists have usually steered clear of commenting on demographic trends and concentrated their efforts on reducing per capita consumption rather than slowing population growth. Even when environmental initiatives have had the backing of scientific and policy experts, they have repeatedly been thwarted by lack of political will. However, when considering the political reality of domestic policy changes, there is no skirting around district, state and national demographics.”

Read the full article in The Cornell Daily Sun

Gerald Elias believes climate change is currently a civil rights issue: 

“Climate change a civil rights issue? Why? Because humanity should not be held hostage by a profit-obsessed fossil-fuel cartel. Because humanity has the right to breathe air not laced with carbon; the right to drink water not contaminated by fracking; the right to live on land that hasn’t been slashed and burned into barren submission. Humanity has the right to live on a sustainable planet.”

Read the full article in The Salt Lake Tribune.

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