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Climate change not necessarily ‘a White thing’

The crisis is real

Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Correspondent | 2/7/2020, midnight

Toney added that it’s not too late to act.

“Climate action is the social justice movement of our time. African-Americans should demand action from state, local and federal leaders on climate action now,” Toney said.

“We must support 100 percent clean energy and require equity in policy that promotes a clean energy economy. We prepare for extreme weather emergencies by working with our churches and community organization to develop action plans for severe weather events,” she said.

Further, “we must talk about ways to become more resilient and sustainable in our home, churches, and schools. We must vote often and always for candidates that talk about climate action now. Our voices are necessary for this movement, and together we can ensure climate safety for generations to come,” Toney said.

Kim Noble, the director of operations for Green The Church, said environmental justice touches on many issues, including climate, the economy, health, social, and racial injustices.

African-Americans learned about racism and injustices at an early age, and some know what being marginalized feels like, Noble said.

“We have folks in environmental justice communities that feel that way every day,” she said.

“When we’re having conversations about the environment, climate change, pollution, and climate policy, we have to include the people who are most impacted – our black and brown families,” Noble said.

“For far too long, our communities have been on the receiving end of the devastating impacts of climate change and pollution. For example, our communities tend to live near power plants and other types of polluting plants which emit toxic air into the environment. These are making our families sick,” she said.

The current election cycle is crucial for several reasons, said Kerene N. Tayloe, an environmental justice and clean energy solutions advocate for WE ACT.

The election presents a great chance to mobilize votes for candidates who are not climate deniers and understand the need to address environmental justice, she said.

“We must become active at the local level where so many decisions about land development and water infrastructure, for instance, are decided,” Tayloe said.

“We should also be keenly aware of how the demand for energy efficiency, renewable and clean energy can create jobs right in our communities. We must lead in the creation of solutions to ensure that the benefits flow, creating opportunities for economic development.”

Tayloe said caring about the climate is not a “White thing.”

It is critical that African-Americans, if they aren’t already, become aware of all of the ways climate change shows up in their lives, she said.