Today’s round-up is focused on environmental injustices that greatly impact marginalized and low income people.
Gyasi Ross gives thanks to all those who have been fighting to protect Mother Earth with the reminder that there’s still more to do…
This is a call to action. Right now, the State Department has THANKFULLY delayed approval or rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline again. That’s positive—that means that all of the actions of Dallas and Faith and Winona and the Niimiipu Tribe and Cheyenne River, Oglala Lakota, Honor the Earth, Owe Aku, and Protect the Sacred and John Pepion and MANY MANY others are paying off. There are literally tipis on the National Mall right now full of Native people taking a stand against the Keystone XL. Thank you. You’re making a mark. We have to make a mark—this is about the very essence of Indigenous life—our mother. Our land.
It’s not enough. We have to continue to work, sign petitions, put pressure on, make coalitions. Small steps—John Isaiah Pepion is committing a percentage of all earnings from his ledger art prints above to help this fight by directing it to Honor the Earth and Stronghold Society. Buy a print. They’re beautiful and powerful.
Small steps. Put one foot in front of the other. This is Native power. This is a fight worth fighting and worth winning. For our kids’ sakes.
Get involved. Call your legislator. Encourage NIGA, NCAI and every other Native organization to take a strong stand on this IMMEDIATELY—economic development is cool and important, and it’s good that we’ve worked on those fights. We also, however, have to make sure that we’re protecting our traditional ways of life and being. Our nations absolutely gotta have money, true, but these kinda fights are the very things that make us Indigenous and what we gotta have money FOR! Show these grassroots warriors your support. This fight ain’t over and we really REALLY could win this. The Earth will be fine, but our kids need this. Happy Earth Day.
Read more athttp://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/04/22/keystone-xl-and-protecting-mother-earth-fight-all-native-people-should-fight-154550#.U1a3HAGZAM0.twitter
A new study published this week shows that both race and class are significant indicators of how much toxic air pollution individuals face in the United States with minorities receiving nearly 40% more exposure to deadly airborne pollutants than whites.
The University of Minnesota study, according to lead researcher Julian Marshall, looked closely at the rates of pollution exposure by race, income, education and other key demographics to establish the key predictors of how specific populations are impacted across the country, state by state.
“The [main] ones are race and income, and they both matter,” Marshall said in an interview with MinnPost. “In our findings, however, race matters more than income.”
Specifically looking at levels of outdoor nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a byproduct found in vehicle exhaust and fossil fuel-fired power plants, the study—titled “National Patterns in Environmental Injustice and Inequality”—found that people of color are exposed to 38 percent more of the deadly chemical which experts say can be a key driver of heart disease and other health problems.
According to the study:
Breathing NO2 is linked to asthma symptoms and heart disease. The researchers studied NO2 levels in urban areas across the country and compared specific areas within the cities based on populations defined in the U.S. Census as “nonwhite” or “white.”
The health impacts from the difference in levels between whites and nonwhites found in the study are substantial. For example, researchers estimate that if nonwhites breathed the lower NO2 levels experienced by whites, it would prevent 7,000 deaths from heart disease alone among nonwhites each year.
Though it has been well-documented that low-income families and minorities have long been forced to live in undesirable neighborhoods near coal plants or high-traffic roadways, this study is being called “ground-breaking” for taking a national look at the issue and using advanced satellite technology to compare specific geographic areas with advanced pollution data.
As Emily Badger writes at the Washington Post:
Studies dating back to the 1970s have pointed to a consistent pattern in who lives near the kinds of hazards — toxic waste sites, landfills, congested highways — that few of us would willingly choose as neighbors. The invariable answer: poor people and communities of color.
This pattern of “environmental injustice” suggests that minorities may contend every day with disproportionate health risks from tailpipe exhaust or coal plant emissions. But these health risks are harder to quantify than, say, the number of power plants in a city. And most of the research that has tried to do this has been limited to a single metropolitan area, or to those few places that happen to have good monitoring data on pollution.
(Photo Credit: NRDC file)
If you’re poor, the only way you’re likely to injure someone is the old traditional way: artisanal violence, we could call it – by hands, by knife, by club, or maybe modern hands-on violence, by gun or by car.
But if you’re tremendously wealthy, you can practice industrial-scale violence without any manual labor on your own part. You can, say, build a sweatshop factory that will collapse in Bangladesh and kill more people than any hands-on mass murderer ever did, or you can calculate risk and benefit about putting poisons or unsafe machines into the world, as manufacturers do every day. If you’re the leader of a country, you can declare war and kill by the hundreds of thousands or millions. And the nuclear superpowers – the US and Russia – still hold the option of destroying quite a lot of life on Earth.
So do the carbon barons. But when we talk about violence, we almost always talk about violence from below, not above.
Or so I thought when I received a press release last week from a climate group announcing that ” scientists say there is a direct link between changing climate and an increase in violence”. What the scientists actually said, in a not-so-newsworthy article in Nature two and a half years ago, is that there is higher conflict in the tropics in El Nino years, and that perhaps this will scale up to make our age of climate change also an era of civil and international conflict.
The message is that ordinary people will behave badly in an era of intensified climate change.
|—||Let’s Call Climate Change What It Really Is — Violence | Alternet (viaguerrillamamamedicine)|
Coal is “cheap” but the human and environmental cost is not.
Rates of asthma are highly correlated to race and income. The above graph shows the variations in rates in different Chicago neighborhoods.
What is the mediating variable? Scholars cite access to medical care, the stress of living in neighborhoods with high rates of violence, and greater exposure to pollutants.
The story is an excellent, if sad example of how health is affected by non-individual/non-biological factors.
Lots more graphs and info at Sociological Images.