Communities of Color Often Pay the Price of the Climate Crisis: Here’s What Can Be Done
The effects of the climate crisis can be far-reaching. For the Houston area, this could mean more frequent floods and stronger storms during hurricane season. Whatever the results are, the people most affected by these increasingly extreme weather patterns are lower-income and communities of color. And this trend does not stop with the weather.
What has been dubbed the Toxic Tour, a tour around Houston’s East End funded by the Texas Environmental Justice and Advocacy Services, explores the negative impacts that pollution from nearby refineries has had on residents who are predominantly people of color.
These two things, at a glance, may seem unrelated but they are connected in one way or another. The plants polluting the air above these communities are related to fossil fuels which are contributing to the warming of the Earth’s climate. As the issue worsens, more people will be forced from their homes or sickened due to unclean air; people of color who are already shouldering more of the burden.
Environmental racism and climate are linked at the hip with communities of color being more likely to suffer from conditions related to pollution and displacement due to changing weather patterns.
But how can we begin to stop the climate crisis and mitigate its effect on the planet?
The first step is to challenge big oil companies and create more monetary incentives for transitioning to cleaner energy sources. According to an article published by The Guardian, big oil companies like Exxon are coming under fire for covering the harmful impacts that fossil fuels have been having on the environment.
Beyond lawsuits and litigation, the way forward seems to be a transition to energy sources with fewer emissions; meaning that big oil companies may find it better for their wallets to begin investing in the new era of energy.
The second step is to evaluate how psychology shapes the way that actions are taken regarding climate change. Climate change is a complex problem, which means that remedies can be just as, if not more, complex as the problem itself. This can make it more difficult to take action now, instead of continuing with more convenient habits.
Ultimately, when it comes to finding ways to address the climate crisis, end goals can seem lofty or even unattainable. But efforts being made by companies to fund the development of clean energy show that big changes may be on the horizon. Changes that may mean a healthier, safer, and more stable future for everyone.