August 22, 2015 | Effenus Henderson | The News Tribune | Read more here.
Saturday will mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, when flood waters breached levies, ruined homes and destroyed lives in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.
Several weeks earlier, my family and I had vacationed in New Orleans, so the catastrophe was even more real to us. Far from just a “natural” disaster, the events that followed marked the first time the toxic cocktail of racism, poverty and environmental insecurity rose to the forefront of American attention. It will not be the last.
Less obvious, but no less deadly, fossil fuel pollution and global warming in Washington state takes the form of heat and drought, respiratory illness, and displaced jobs and homes – disproportionately punishing communities of color and communities with lower incomes.
South Tacoma and Tacoma’s South End already rank second and fourth in the region as the communities most highly impacted by air pollution. Global warming will double down on existing trends, hitting communities of color and people with lower incomes first and worst.
So it should be no surprise that polls show that people of color are more concerned and willing to take action to reduce carbon pollution. Front-line communities are organizing and developing solutions right now that move racial, economic and environmental justice to the front and center of the climate movement.