Climate change, environmental justice and the rise of local solutions

On this day, April 22, Earth Day will be 1 yearNdI and I have testified to each of them. The environmental activism that initiated and inspired it shaped me as a person-shaped culture in the United States and beyond, and shaped the planet we all share. And it continues to evolve, focusing on today’s environmental justice and the unintended health effects felt by low-income communities and communities of color. As a child of the 1970s, I saw significant changes – environmental policies and discoveries that profiled with the right direction, obstacles and frustrations, and courage.

As a young man, I was inspired by Jack Cousteau’s courage, Jane Goodall’s bravery, and Norma Rye’s courage. As an adult, I look at the power of local change agents Chief Carter South Bronx, NYC and Margie Eugene Richard Of southern Louisiana. Over the course of my life, I have seen a shift from recycling organizations, gasoline and paint extracted glass, banned asbestos from buildings and consumer preferences to plant-based cleaning products and chemical-free foods. I am excited by the growing international movement Green school guards. I have also seen catastrophic environmental crises in places like the Love Canal, New York, Flint, Mitch, the Gulf of Mexico, and Prince William Sound. All of this represents both incredible damage and good when we act collectively.

I hope that in my lifetime the David vs. Goliath battle has been fought in terms of environment and environmental injustice. I hope to share.

A year ago, the last national emergency of the epidemic was declared. To stop the spread of COVID-19, the world let us know that it has been suspended. In a short time, it was hard to remember how Nature was emerging In those places we had never thought before, how our streets would calm down and how we would clean our air. Birds appeared everywhere – even in industrial neighborhoods. Demand grew for equal access to green and open public spaces. Some cities expanded bike lanes and expanded roads into traffic. All of this and more helped us understand that the way we always worked is not the way we should continue to do it. We demonstrated that we Can Be more resourceful, creative, and inclusive in solving the competitive solutions of our time.

Although I do not wish for this epidemic in this or any future generation, it is important to assess what we are capable of when marshaling our resources across borders and cultures to meet a kind of threat. This makes me wonder about our other existential threats, such as climate change. How can we increase the same collective will to overcome this challenge and do so with a commitment to equity?

How cities are working to address health, equity and climate change

At the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we know this There is no limit to good ideas And I’m excited that we are Supporting six projects in US cities They translate and optimize testing approaches in cities around the world to prevent the health effects of climate change. It demonstrates power We Extreme heat, climate displacement, and increasing sea level challenges – our communities are the incubator of change. Here is what our guarantors are doing.

“Lawrence, Mass., We know that high poverty levels and environmental concerns are marked by a lack of adequate and diverse transportation options, health care, green spaces, healthy food, and access to social contacts. Health inequality.

So the city partnered with the residents there, the Conservation Law Foundation and Groundwork Lawrence – abroad in Brazil, Italy and elsewhere – for inventions to create climate resilient parks and corridors in our city. It is our opportunity to address health and climate inequality while emphasizing our rich local natural resources and deep partnership. ”

“Jackson, Miss. It is the capital of one of the poorest and most unhealthy states in the United States. It is one of the most isolated cities in the country, with a lack of health insurance, obesity and diabetes living in Jackson’s redline areas. . These inequalities dramatically increase the risk of climate change, a fact that has been ignored or ignored by many state officials. In contrast, we are supporting weather action to address health risks by developing heat-measuring green infrastructure in our city. Inspired by innovative solutions developed in Japan and Spain, we are working to transform Jackson into the greenest, healthiest, and most equitable city in the South! ”

“Seattle’s Duvamish Valley is a microcosm of how the combined effects of existing health inequality and the growing threat of climate change affect black, indigenous, and low-income people and low-income communities. We are therefore working with community stakeholders to develop and implement strategies to mitigate and adapt to the effects of sea level rise and other climate change, prioritizing people and businesses over where they live.

Based on solutions in Brazil, Puerto Rico and New Zealand, our sea level rise optimization strategy will be driven by the community, which is linked to ethnic equity, and will promote health and equity today and in the future. ”

“In Cleveland, we have made significant progress in improving water quality and reducing carbon pollution, but we have work to do to increase our resilience to climate change, create green jobs and promote social and ethnic equality. To accelerate our goals, we are committed to an equal transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050 and to building a global economy in Cleveland, where solid waste and pollution management has been redesigned to improve community health and economic opportunities. Inspired by the Round Initiative in Toronto, we are excited to join Circular Cities in Europe, Asia and Latin America. ”

“While the city of Detroit may be a little slow to act on climate change, health, and equity issues, we have amazing people in our neighborhood who are working to get things in the right direction. From composting to community health projects, our Detroit Compost Champions support policies that Creating a fair environment where the benefits of our waste disposal efforts are placed in the community – both for compost and employment. In collaboration with our international partner, Mother Earth Foundation of the Philippines, we can accelerate the work here by learning from their incredible example of community composting . ”

The transformation makers of these cities are not alone. In response to our fund proposal, Cities are working to address health, equity and climate change, We learned Promising solutions Air pollution, heat stress and food insecurity have affected more than 100 cities in 600 countries, from Accra to Athens to Seoul to Sao Paulo. It gives me hope to see that many are focusing on ethnic equality in their work, increasing community empowerment in the environment in which they live, and prioritizing the needs of people affected by climate change.

We can lead significant change when we set up our sites for a common cause – and we all play a role in improving health and equity wherever we live. We can learn a lot from these cities as they mobilize power and martial resources in the fight against climate change – both local and global. Together Other communities that we support To advance health and weather solutions, it is felt that we are on the brink of real and lasting change.

When Rachel Carson was published Silent spring In 1962, he set the course for change and change activists by declaring the unsatisfactory and environmentally degrading practices of industrial societies. We have big challenges ahead of us, but I have seen change and I have hope.

Learn about the innumerable Equitable and inclusive climate action We can take today to propel change.

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