Thursday, January 18, 2007

Global Warming and Environmental Justice

Global warming poses an immediate threat to vulnerable communities because: 1) hotter temperatures cook up a more toxic photochemical smog, 2) low-income people cannot afford the medicines (sprays, pills, nebulizers), doctors and hospitalizations needed to efffectively treat asthma (made worse by more smog), 3) disproportionately larger numbers of pollution sites add to the air pollution loads experienced by other communities, 4) bus stops and bus depots are unhealthy for asthmatics and buses are too slow for emergency room visits, 5) milder winters produce super pollen seasons that exacerbate allergies and asthma, and 6) low-income people cannot afford the air conditioners or cooling bills needed to adequately protect themselves from the effects of heat and smog.

It is crucial that solutions are developed now to mitigate climate change. Fortunately, the technologies exist or are being developed to fight global warming. The Bush administration, Congress, the marketplace and the general public all acknowledge global warming. Hopefully, we will exercise the political will and societal dedication to adopt the policy and technological solutions necessary to solve this problem. Sea level rise might be an inconvenience for waterfront property owners one day, but it is a life and death situation right now for vulnerable communities.

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