People walk through MLK Park near Santa Fe and Nystrom Village neighborhoods in Richmond, California, March 23, 2021. Photos by Sarahbeth Maney for OneZero.

Black in the Time of Climate Change

Across the U.S., people of color point to a root cause: environmental racism

Wind blows oily black dust onto cars, windowsills, and lawns as a 100-car train loaded with coal rolls past Parchester Village, a historically Black neighborhood in Richmond, California. This happens a couple of times a week. The train’s cargo, mined from the mountains of Utah by the coal giant Wolverine Fuels, will join the towering piles of coal at the Levin-Richmond Terminal, a privately owned coal shipping port seven miles away. The terminal is responsible for a quarter of the coal the United States ships from the West Coast to Asia.

The coal dust gets so thick that some say…


The Color of Climate

All over the country, there are direct actions, lawsuits, and calls for the Biden administration to shut down more pipelines

Photo of climate change rally in Washington D.C.
Photo of climate change rally in Washington D.C.
Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

This is The Color of Climate, a weekly column from Future Human exploring how climate change and other environmental issues uniquely impact the future of communities of color.

Indigenous communities and environmental groups are fighting a battle against a planned tar sands pipeline they say could do irreparable damage to ecosystems in Northern Minnesota. Known as Line 3, the project was ordered by President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice in 2014, which aimed to replace a pipeline built in 1968 that has a long history of oil spills — including the largest inland oil spill in United States history. That…


Words of Warming

Indigenous and environmental groups are fighting the construction of a tar sands pipeline that would cross 200 bodies of water

Words of Warming is a series from Future Human defining the language of climate change and environmental and climate justice.

Definition of tar sands (also called oil sands):

A mixture of sand, clay, water, and bitumen—a thick, sticky oil that’s made of hydrocarbons; it can be refined to produce gasoline and other products that require petrochemicals.

The Revelator recently interviewed Tara Houska, an attorney and Indigenous rights activist, about the fight to stop a tar sands pipeline called Line 3 from being built because of the potential public health threat the pipeline represents:

There’s also this huge push on [President…


Well, perhaps virtual reality. But that’s about it.

Photo: Amy Osborne/AFP/Getty Images

In an interview with The Information on Monday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed that augmented- and virtual-reality glasses would help mitigate climate change by allowing people to virtually “teleport” places rather than physically travel.

“It’s going to have a big society-wide impact on a lot of things we care deeply about like climate change, because look… obviously there are going to keep on being cars and planes and all that,” he said. …


The Color of Climate

Opponents of the move say most of the oil and gas wells will be drilled near Hispanic communities

The text “The Color of Climate” is illustrated in a circle pattern  around a globe icon. Behind the text there are two images side-by-side — on the left is a gavel and an “I Voted” sticker, and on the right is an oil drilling machine.
The text “The Color of Climate” is illustrated in a circle pattern  around a globe icon. Behind the text there are two images side-by-side — on the left is a gavel and an “I Voted” sticker, and on the right is an oil drilling machine.
Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

This is The Color of Climate, a weekly column from Future Human exploring how climate change and other environmental issues uniquely impact the future of communities of color.

On Monday, the Kern County Board of Supervisors in California voted to approve an ordinance that will allow fast-track permitting of tens of thousands of new oil and gas wells. The vote was unanimous, despite a months-long campaign waged by a coalition of county residents and environmental activists and eight hours of public testimony in opposition to the ordinance that the board heard on the day of the vote.

Kern County, which…


Phthalates are a neurotoxin that can be found in many household, personal care, and beauty products

A group of public health and environmental researchers are calling for an immediate ban on a group of chemical compounds known to harm women and children — and especially women and children of color.

In a paper published in the American Journal of Public Health in February, the group, comprised of researchers from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Harvard University, Columbia University, and other institutions, called for a complete ban of ortho-phthalates in consumer products.

Phthalates, as the group is often abbreviated, are ubiquitous in our everyday lives. They are used in everything from agricultural equipment to medical supplies…


Words of Warming

It’s receiving investment from some of the most powerful names in oil, gas, and technology

“Words of Warming” curved around a globe with meridians, all in a big circle. The background is an orange-to-red diagonal gradient. A radial motion blur effect and noise have been added.
“Words of Warming” curved around a globe with meridians, all in a big circle. The background is an orange-to-red diagonal gradient. A radial motion blur effect and noise have been added.

Words of Warming is a new series from Future Human defining the language of climate change and environmental and climate justice.

Definition of carbon capture and sequestration

1: a group of technologies aimed at removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and storing it in deep underground rock formations called saline aquifers. Earlier this month, Marketwatch reported on a partnership between oil and gas giant Chevron, Microsoft, and Schlumberger New Energy to build a carbon capture plant in Central California:

Chevron Corp. is partnering with Microsoft Corp., oilfield services firm Schlumberger New Energy and privately held Clean Energy Systems to…


THE COLOR OF CLIMATE

But replacing them might not be as easy as previously thought

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

This is The Color of Climate, a weekly column from Future Human exploring how climate change and other environmental issues uniquely impact the future of communities of color.

A group of public health and environmental researchers from across the United States are calling for reforms in how we regulate a group of chemical compounds that are harmful to women and children.

In a paper published in the American Journal of Public Health in February, the group recommended policies that they hope will eliminate the use of the chemicals in consumer products.

Ortho-phthalates, the chemical group in question, are neurotoxins that…


The state portrays itself as a leader in climate action but is still a top U.S. oil producer. And it’s not good for Black Californians.

Aerial view of pits containing production water from oil wells near Hwy. 33 and Lokern Road on February 25, 2015 in Kern County, CA. Photo: Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Earlier this month, the Planning Commission of Kern County, California, recommended that the county’s board of supervisors approve the fast-tracking of over 67,000 new oil and gas wells. Kern County already has more than 35,000 active oil and gas wells, some of which have leaked oil into the Kern River’s watershed, and living near them has been impacting the health of the county’s residents.

Kern County is predominantly Latinx, and its median household income is nearly 30% less than the state as a whole, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. There aren’t many Black folx in Kern, who make up…


WORDS OF WARMING

Massive power outages during the recent Texas storms exposed inequities in the energy grid that run along racial and class lines

“Words of Warming” curved around a globe with meridians, all in a big circle. The background is a blue-to-teal-to-green gradient. A radial motion blur effect and noise have been added.
“Words of Warming” curved around a globe with meridians, all in a big circle. The background is a blue-to-teal-to-green gradient. A radial motion blur effect and noise have been added.

Words of Warming is a new series from Future Human defining the language of climate change and environmental and climate justice.

Definition of energy justice

: an attempt to remediate historic and ongoing social, economic, and health burdens suffered by historically marginalized communities because of how the energy system is structured. Energy justice also seeks to make social and economic participation in the energy system more equitable and inclusive of historically marginalized communities. During recent power outages across the state of Texas, millions of Texans experienced power outages. Poor people and people of color were among the first to have…

Drew Costley

Drew Costley is a Staff Writer at FutureHuman covering the environment, health, science and tech. Previously @ SFGate, East Bay Express, USA Today, etc.

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