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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day, Climate Change and Black Folks

Ok, today is Blog Action Day - 2009. I love that fact that nearly 5,000 blogs have already signed up for Blog Action Day 2009. I promised to do a blog about the whole issue of climate change and black folks. I started researching the fact that in the United States, there are serious climate issues that need to be addressed, and these problems disproportionately affect African-Americans and lower-income communities.

Get this, from poor air quality to illegal waste dumping, black communities around the country have suffered the most from environmental pollution. There is more, last year the Commission to Engage African-Americans on Climate Change (CEAC) put out a background paper, Global Warming and African Americans. As the blog Grio.com/ noted, the report contains statistics that should alarm all Americans.

There is more, according to the survey, "temperature increases are expected to be more extreme in urban areas, where blacks are more than twice as likely to live than whites." Furthermore, because black urban dwellers are less likely to have air conditioning in their homes, the heat-related mortality rate could go up in American inner cities. In addition, African-Americans currently spend an estimated 25 percent of their income on basic necessities like food, water and energy - much more than most Americans. More HERE

Bloggers from the African American Environmentalist Association along with the Congressional Black Caucus have detailed the unequal burden of climate change and the African American community.

According to Reuters, black Americans are more than twice as likely to live in cities. Black Americans are also more likely to suffer from the high costs of fuel making them "fuel poor" as the demand for energy in the economy increases. Combined with the urban heat island effectair pollution and smog, the result is communities of people gathering to join in the fight against global warming. - H/T Rachelle Oblack at About.com has been tracking the political issues, and notes:
and increased

The Commission to Engage African Americans on Climate Change (CEAC) has been created to bring light to the unique issues faced by African American communities caused by climate change issues. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn released the following statement:

“America's energy policy can either be reactive and arcane, or it can be proactive and visionary. Everyday in Congress we are fighting for policies that will end our dependence on foreign oil, enhance our national security, protect our environment, create new economies, and provide better options to those who suffer disproportionately from rising energy costs. The debate over climate change policy will impact all of these goals and it is critical that our community be an active part of this debate. I am honored to participate in the launch of the Commission to Engage African Americans on Climate Change and commend the leaders of the Commission for having the vision to bring this diverse group of experts together to broaden the reach of the African American community. I look forward to working with the Commission as Congress continues to tackle critical energy and climate change issues.”
In prior surveys, climate change has never been mentioned as a top problem by any black respondents.

Good News, according to the website urban mecca a majority of African Americans want to minimize the impacts of climate change

October 2009

A majority of African Americans believe climate change is a growing problem that both government and individuals should take action on now to mitigate the potential impacts, according to the results of a national poll conducted by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a research and policy institution in Washington, DC.

The survey of 750 African American adults found that more than half of respondents identified the issue as a “major problem,” with 58 percent giving that response when it was described as “global warming” and 52 percent reacting that way when the term “climate change” was used. Only about ten percent in each group said global warming or climate change is not a problem.

A large majority of respondents said that government and individuals can do things to reduce global warming. About a third believe federal and state government can do a lot to mitigate the problem, while some three-quarters believe government can at least do something. A majority of African Americans express support for the cap-and-trade legislation passed earlier this year by the U.S. House of Representatives, and a large majority said they would be even more supportive with strong provisions for green jobs and incentives to buy more energy efficient cars and improve the energy efficiency of their homes.The poll was the second that the Joint Center has conducted to determine African American views on climate change. The previous survey, released in July 2008, also found a majority of African Americans defining climate change as a problem that government must address.

A key finding in this year’s survey is that 26 percent of African Americans think they — and others like them — can do a lot to reduce global warming, and an additional 44 percent believe they can take at least some measures to combat the problem. The survey results indicate that a majority of them recycle and purchase energy saving appliances and light bulbs, while nearly half of them purchased products in the last year that were better for the environment even though the products were more costly than similar non-environmentally friendly items.

“While African Americans are underrepresented in the public debates on climate change and environmental issues generally, they are as aware of these issues as other groups in American society, and committed to action — both personal and governmental — to deal with the problems associated with climate change,” said Ralph B. Everett, President and CEO of the Joint Center. More HERE

AAPP says: It's time for black folks to join groups like the African American Environmentalist Association. The fact of the matter is the world's poorest people are often hit hardest by the consequences of climate change. another great organization doing great work on this issue is CARE.

I'm glad to be part of this Blog Action Day, I salute the people who have coordinated this effort to get bloggers to blog in unison about this particular issue. I hope more afrospear members will join in next year.

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