August 17, 2017
Our team at the Center for Climate Change and Health stands in solidarity with those terrorized by the violence and hatred of white supremacists and neo-nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia. What happened in Charlottesville is just one more reminder that white supremacy, racism, and bigotry remain a matter of life and death for communities of color. We stand against racism and oppression as a moral responsibility. But it is also fundamental to our fight against climate change, a matter of life and death for people around the world. What’s the connection?
Climate change, health inequities, and the oppression and marginalization of people of color and people living in poverty share a root cause: exploitation and greed. Just as we confront the powerful institutions that exploit our planet and burn fossil fuels for profit,we must confront the white supremacist forces that have upheld centuries of race-based exploitation that persist today in the form of inequitable distribution of resources by race, class, and neighborhood Our most vulnerable communities – communities of color, low-income communities, indigenous communities, migrants, and other historically disenfranchised groups – have been systematically stripped of political, social, and economic power. The result is that they bear disproportionate environmental burdens, worse health status, and greater vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.
We cannot address climate change without addressing the underlying inequitable distribution of social, economic, and political power, fueled by racist ideologies. We cannot fight climate change without transforming systems founded on exploitation – of people and the planet. Standing up against racism, oppression, and inequality are part and parcel of our work to promote a healthy, equitable, and climate resilient future for all.
USCHA Staff: Zach Baker, Laura Buckley, Catherine Harrison, Heather Kuiper, Neil Maizlish, Savannah North, Linda Rudolph, Minna Toloui