This excerpt from “What Is Environmental Racism? 10 Facts About How It Works” was written by Ivana Ramirez for Teen Vogue and is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.
Lingering sunlight and suggestions of swelter are lifting spirits across the United States. For many, the spring air marks a transition out of the seasonal depression that comes with winter. For others, however, rising temperatures mean it’s time to find a cooling center.
These centers, which are used by cities like New York to provide air-conditioning for residents who don’t have it at home, are the end result of a decades-long fight against “environmental racism,” a term which refers to environmental injustice that occurs both in practice and policy. Factors like rising temperatures and a pandemic affect how comfortably people can live in their communities, and more often than not discomforts fall disproportionately on communities of color.
Young people have advocated for an intersectional approach to the climate crisis that addresses the realities of environmental racism. Here’s what to know about the unexpected effects of discriminatory environmental policies.