THE COLOR OF CLIMATE

But replacing them might not be as easy as previously thought

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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.

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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…


The Color of Climate

California was once the leading producer of oil and gas in the United States, and is slow to move away from fossil fuels

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Photo illustration source: Education Images/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 the outskirts of Bakersfield, California, it doesn’t take much effort to stumble upon an oil or gas well.

“You don’t have to drive far, especially once you get out into those rural areas,” Julie Solis, who lives in the city, tells Future Human. “The rural communities are really where they’re getting hit the hardest.”

Two of Solis’ four children attend school at Bakersfield College, which is on the edge of town…


Words of Warming

A first-of-its-kind project led by Harvard scientists is just one example

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

Definition of geoengineering

1: deliberate, large-scale projects aimed at intervening in Earth’s natural processes, typically aimed at mitigation of the impacts of climate change through intentional alteration of Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and soil. The practice is still mostly in experimental stages and is controversial, with some claiming that it’s the only thing that can mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, and others wary of additional human-made impacts to the environment and climate that the practice could bring.

Last…


A historic and rare winter storm leaves the state’s most vulnerable without power while downtowns are lit up

Victor Zelaya tries to start a fire on a barbecue grill during power outage caused by the winter storm on February 16, 2021 in Houston, Texas
Victor Zelaya tries to start a fire on a barbecue grill during power outage caused by the winter storm on February 16, 2021 in Houston, Texas
Victor Zelaya tries to start a fire on a barbecue grill during a power outage caused by the winter storm on February 16, 2021, in Houston, Texas. Photo: Go Nakamura/Getty Images

Millions of Texas residents have been left without power after a rare and historic winter storm swept through and caused blackouts throughout the state. But poor and minority communities in the state have been hit especially hard by the blackouts, the New York Times reports.

The blackouts are making a bad situation worse — temperatures in Texas this week have dropped to as low as minus 19 degrees in some places, leaving people in the state scrambling for warmth.

The Times spoke with Ricardo Cruz, a 42-year-old father of five who lives in a San Antonio housing project, about how…


New research suggests masking and social distancing remain the most important factors in preventing outbreaks

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Photo: Florian Glawogger/Unsplash

Coronavirus cases and deaths rose throughout the United States in January. While it was predicted that the cold weather would fuel spikes by driving more people indoors, a new study suggests that the relaxing of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), like masking and social distancing, primarily drove the surge.

The relaxation of rules for mitigating Covid-19 and lower adherence to safety precautions play a larger role in wintertime outbreaks than bad weather, according to research from Princeton University published February 8 in Nature Communications. The researchers based their conclusions on a computer simulation of a wintertime coronavirus outbreak in New York City…


Words of Warming

Environmental and climate justice groups have broadened the definition of a term originally used by trade unions

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

Definition of just transition

1. A concept that originated with trade unions in North America in the 1990s as “a program of support for workers who lost their jobs due to environmental protection policies,” dismantling the carbon-based economy and replacing it with a new climate-resilient and a low- or zero-carbon economy while minimizing harm to workers in carbon-intensive industries.

This term was used recently in a CNBC article about President Joe Biden’s climate change plan:

“Labor groups and climate policymakers around the globe call…


Richmond residents have lived through a long history of environmental injustice perpetrated by the oil giant

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Chevron and fire-agency crews respond to a five-gallon-per-minute petroleum product leak in the waters of Point Richmond as an absorbent boom is placed next to the Chevron Richmond Long Wharf in Richmond, California, on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. Photo: Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Chevron Refinery in Richmond, California, spilled up to 750 gallons of diesel fuel into the San Francisco Bay, leaving many of the city’s residents feeling unsafe and scared. Two days after the spill, a muted, rainbow-colored sheen could be seen along at least a mile-long stretch of the coastline. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife tweeted that some of the oil has washed ashore.

“It is alarming,” Dale Weatherspoon, pastor of the Richmond-based Easter Hill United Church, tells Future Human. “As one person said, ‘I just don’t feel safe walking along the beach or having my…


The Color of Climate

Some say trading water as a commodity could help mitigate future water crises, but others are highly skeptical

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Photo illustration, sources via Getty: Abstract Aerial Art/DigitalVision; Marnie Griffiths/Moment; Creativ Studio Heinemann

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.

In 2016, California experienced one of the worst droughts in the history of the state. Over 100 million trees died and billions of dollars in agriculture were lost. Farmers across the state were stuck between a rock and dry place: They needed more water for their crops, but the price of water was higher and more uncertain because of the drought.

Now, despite a powerful recent winter storm that brought rain and…

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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