Previous Environmental Justice News 2020

He thinks we’re on the cusp of a green building boom 12-22-20

Growing up in a one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment, Donnel Baird and his family relied on a cooking stove for heat. Now, as cofounder and CEO of BlocPower, he strives to retrofit buildings across New York City with safer, greener, more efficient heating and cooling systems. Read more at Grist

The Forest Loses its Trees 12-15-20

California’s iconic giant sequoias, Joshua trees, and coast redwoods had resiliently survived centuries, weathering fires and droughts. They are among the oldest living things on earth. But this year’s massive wildfires, fueled by the climate crisis, burned four million acres of California and many of its majestic trees. Read more at Our Daily Planet

2020 Hurricane Season Winds Down After Record-Breaking Storms 12-01-20

As the 2020 hurricane season draws to a close, scientists are reflecting on the devastating records set by this year’s storms. Read more at Our Daily Planet

Once Called Naïve for His Focus on Returning Land to Black Farmers, Thomas Mitchell Is Now a MacArthur Genius 12-09-20

The call for African Americans to receive redress for the farmland they’ve lost to systemic racism has snowballed in recent years. Read more at Civil Eats

Mustafa Santiago Ali describes the path forward for environmental justice 12-03-20

Over the his 24-year career with the EPA, Santiago Ali helped lead the agency’s environmental justice programs, working to undo the toxic burden of pollution in minority, Indigenous and poor communities. Read more at High County News

Q&A: A young environmental justice leader on the value of getting youth of color into nature 11-24-20

“Before decisions are made we need to practice what we preach when we say that we stand for justice and equity.” Read more at Environmental Health News

Shingle Mountain 11-16-20

How a pile of toxic pollution was dumped in a community of color. Read more at The Washington Post

Here’s what it will take for Biden and Harris to deliver on environmental justice 11-11-20

Environmental justice featured more prominently in the 2020 election than it did in any other presidential election in U.S. history. Read more at Grist

Protection for the Rich, Retreat for the Poor 10-14-20

How the United States’ implementation of climate change adaptation programs is exacerbating inequality and breeding a new form of climate gentrification. Read more at Hakai Magazine

How Europe’s wood pellet appetite worsens environmental racism in the US South 10-05-20

An expanding wood pellet market in the Southeast has fallen short of climate and job goals—instead bringing air pollution, noise and reduced biodiversity in majority Black communities. Read more at The Daily Climate

Black Microbiologists Push for Visibility Amid a Pandemic 09-28-20

A week of talks, panels and discussions seeks to counter an impression “that this talent pool just does not exist.” Read more at The New York Times

Too many Americans live in ‘sacrifice zones.’ Let’s fix that 09-04-20

Coronavirus transmission rates may be down in New York City, but in the Bronx, my community is still facing the effects of three pandemics: COVID-19, white supremacy, and climate injustice. Read more at Grist

The rise of environmental justice 08-24-20

In the midst of a pandemic and an uprising for racial equity, advocates for communities of color near industrial facilities seize the moment. Read more at C&EN

Kamala Harris Brings Food Justice to the Democratic Ticket 08-18-20

As vice president, experts say Harris would be able to advance her years-long focus on hunger, worker rights and protections, and environmental justice. Read more at Civil Eats

Covid Killed New York’s Coastal Resilience Bill, and People of Color Could Bear Much of the Cost 08-16-20

The proposal would have provided $3 billion in funding to reduce flood risk linked to climate change. Read more at Inside Climate News

Kamala Harris goes big on environmental justice as Biden considers her as running mate 08-06-20

Conservative outside groups spent nearly a year airing ads in Michigan attacking Democratic Sen. Gary Peters and boosting his main Republican rival, John James. Read more at The Washington Post

John Lewis fought for equal protection. That means tackling pollution, poverty, and policing. 08-03-20

In the two months since George Floyd’s death at the hands of police, Americans have marched, protested, rallied, and spoken out about the need for systemic change. Read more at Grist

African-Americans are 75 percent more likely than others to live near facilities that produce hazardous waste. Can a grass-roots environmental-justice movement make a difference? 07-28-20 Read more at The New York Times

Exclusive: Kamala Harris to introduce comprehensive environmental justice bill in Senate 07-30-20

Fifteen years ago, Kamala Harris — San Francisco’s District Attorney at the time — created an environmental justice unit in her office. The goal was to go after the perpetrators of environmental crimes that were hurting some of the city’s poorest residents. Read more at Grist 

Minority groups more likely to have limited access to nature, new report finds 07-21-20

African Americans, Hispanics and other minority groups are three times more likely than whites to live in areas with limited access to nature, according to a new report from a pair of nonprofit advocacy groups. Read more at The Washington Post

Our racist fossil fuel energy system 07-13-20

The fossil fuel economy is killing Black Americans. Read more at The Boston Globe

‘The Wrong Complexion For Protection.’ How Race Shaped America’s Roadways And Cities 07-05-20

The highways and public spaces that shape our cities were often intentionally built at the expense of Black, Latino and other minority Americans. Read more at Northern Public Radio

National Economic Transition Platform 07-03-20

We envision a future where the communities hit hardest by the decline of the coal sector build locally driven, vibrant, inclusive, and resilient economies with thriving, locally owned businesses and quality,family-sustaining jobs. Click here for the full plan

Democrats Detail a Climate Agenda Tying Environment to Racial Justice 06-29-20

The policy road map, expected on Tuesday, could guide the party if it gains control of Congress and the White House in November. Read more at The New York Times

This plastics company is trying to stop Black residents from visiting a slave burial site on Juneteenth 06-18-20

A group of Black residents from St. James Parish, Louisiana, got the green light on Thursday to hold an hour-long Juneteenth prayer service on a burial plot containing the remains of formerly enslaved people. Read more at Grist

Climate Change Tied to Pregnancy Risks, Affecting Black Mothers Most 06-18-20

Women exposed to high temperatures or air pollution are more likely to have premature, underweight or stillborn babies, a look at 32 million U.S. births found. Read more at The New York Times

Across America, Five Communities in Search of Environmental Justice 06-17-20

From New York to Los Angeles, Minneapolis to the Gulf Coast, people of color suffer disproportionately from pollution, callous government and climate change. Read more at Inside Climate News

Earth scientists #ShutDownSTEM — and reckon with racism in their departments 06-16-20

By noon on June 10, the day of the Strike for Black Lives across higher education, nearly 6,000 scientists had signed a pledge to #ShutDownSTEM: to cancel their lab meetings, halt their research projects, and actively confront entrenched racism in academia. Read more at Grist

Why America Needs Environmental Justice 06-16-20

In recent weeks, our nation has been forced to come to grips with the variety of ways in which inequality harms minority communities. Read more at EcoWatch

Wait … Chevron said ‘black lives matter’? 06-12-20

As Americans took to the streets to protest police brutality and racism over the past two weeks, they found an unlikely ally: Big Oil. In public statements and notes to their staff, Shell, BP, and Chevron have all responded to the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. Read more at Grist

Inside Clean Energy: The Racial Inequity in Clean Energy and How to Fight It 06-11-20

The industry is growing, but jobs and financial benefits are not distributed equally. Read more at Inside Climate News


Minority areas already have high pollution. Trump’s coronavirus response makes it worse, critics say. 06-11-20

President Trump’s efforts to prop up the economy during the coronavirus pandemic may end up doing more harm than good for poor and minority neighborhoods facing chronic pollution, administration critics say. Read more at The Washington Post

The joys and challenges of exploring nature while black 06-10-20

The great outdoors isn’t always that “great” for people of color, whether that’s because of a lack of access, visibility, or acceptance. Read more at Grist

Fighting Climate Change Isn’t Just an Environmental Issue — it’s a Social Justice Issue Too 06-10-20

We constantly hear the narrative that climate change impacts us all. And while that’s true, the issue is disproportionately impacting people of color, especially Black, Latino, and Native Americans. And when it comes to environmental justice, we just aren’t talking about social equity enough. Read more at EcoWatch

Hurricanes disproportionately harm communities of color. TV news ignores that fact. 06-05-20

When Hurricane Florence slammed into southeastern North Carolina in September 2018, the worst-hit communities were already dealing with a litany of hazards: poverty, pollution from coal ash ponds and lagoons filled with livestock wastechemicals in the drinking water, not to mention many were still in the process of rebuilding after Hurricane Matthew tore through two years earlier. Read more at Grist

‘Another Blow to the Black Community’: Trump Waives Environmental Law That Gives Public a Voice in Infrastructure Projects 06-05-20

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday mandating federal agencies bypass key environmental reviews of energy and infrastructure projects. Read more at EcoWatch 

Why racial justice is climate justice 06-04-20

The worst disasters are never colorblind. Read more at Grist

As Protests Rage Over George Floyd’s Death, Climate Activists Embrace Racial Justice 06-03-20

Friends of the Earth tweeted #BlackLivesMatter, and the head of the NRDC promised “to be fully and visibly committed to the fight against systemic racism.” Read more at Inside Climate News

The Energy 202: Green groups back protesters. But they’re grappling with how best to address their own issues with race 06-02-20

Green groups are expressing full-throated support for demonstrators protesting the killing of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis police custody — even as they struggle with their own long-standing issues with addressing racial inequality and a lack of diversity in their ranks. Read more at The Washington Post

#BlackBirdersWeek Takes on Systemic Racism 06-02-20

Sheridan Alford’s love of bird-watching stems from a simple fact: “Anybody can do it.” Read more at Grist

Flooding disproportionately harms black neighborhoods 06-02-20

When Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas in 2017, the neighborhood that suffered the worst flood damage was a section of southwest Houston where 49% of the residents are nonwhite. Read more at E&E News

We Don’t farm Because it’s Trendy; We Farm as Resistance, for Healing and Sovereignty 05-27-20

Farming is not new to Black people. Read more at Environmental Health News

A Jail Built on a Landfill is at the Center of America’s Coronavirus Outbreak 04-08-20

New York City is the epicenter of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak — and perhaps nowhere is that outbreak more dangerous than in the city’s most notorious jail complex: Rikers Island. Read more at Grist

Report: Utilities are less likely to replace lead pipes in low-income communities of color 03-12-20

Aging water infrastructure needs constant attention and investment to ensure safety for everyone — especially if the U.S. wants to avoid another Flint water crisis. Read more at Grist

5 Women Environmental Leaders You Should Know 03-06-20

Women have long been at the forefront of the effort to protect the earth and its creatures. Some of them, like Greta Thunberg and Jane Goodall, are household names. Read more at EcoWatch

House Democrats Roll out Environmental Justice Bill 02-28-20

Low-income and minority communities are particularly vulnerable to the climate crisis. Read more at EcoWatch

Racism and ecological injustice combine in ‘reckless, racist’ Atlantic Coast Pipeline fight 02-03-20

Although it is not new, under the current administration, powerful and wealthy corporations are given free rein to despoil and destroy our sacred and treasured lands. Read more at NBC News 

Environmental Justice Is Not Merely a Box to Be Checked’ 01-23-20

When concerns about a pipeline were dismissed by regulators, a rural black enclave went to court — and won. Read more at The New York Times

‘Important Victory’ for Historic Black Community Over the Atlantic Coast Pipeline 01-08-30

A historic African American community in Virginia has dealt another blow to the embattled Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Read more at EcoWatch

New York’s ambitious climate and environmental justice laws are in effect. Here’s what’s next. 01-06-20

New York state’s landmark climate legislation has finally reached the finish line after a four-year marathon through Albany. And that means it’s reached the starting line for the state’s race to net-zero emissions. Read more at Grist