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Seeking environmental justice: the impact of climate change on communities of color

People wait in line to enter Fiesta supermarket on in Houston, Texas. Winter storm Uri has brought historic cold weather, power outages and traffic accidents to Texas as storms have swept across 26 states with a mix of freezing temperatures and precipitation.
People wait in line to enter Fiesta supermarket on in Houston, Texas. Winter storm Uri has brought historic cold weather, power outages and traffic accidents to Texas as storms have swept across 26 states with a mix of freezing temperatures and precipitation. (Go Nakamura/Getty Images)

The recent extreme climate event in Texas slammed many cities and towns throughout the state, but — as is the case in many natural disasters — communities of color were most affected. This has been a trend in the country, with many of these communities still feeling the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey – as well as man-made disasters such as the Flint, Michigan, water crisis. What is the cause of the disproportionate impact, and what policies can reverse this pattern? 

Chrishelle Palay and Justin Onwenu join this episode of Equal Time. Palay runs the HOME Coalition, a nonprofit that advocates for equitable recovery from natural disasters, while Onwenu is an environmental justice organizer for the Sierra Club and an appointee to the DNC’s Environment and Climate Crisis Council. With host Mary C. Curtis, each discusses the issue of environmental injustice not only in Texas, but across the country, and why long-standing inequities demand grassroots activism and change in local, state and federal policies. 

Show Notes:

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