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UN Report Says Indigenous Sovereignty Could Save the Planet

By Mike Ludwig, TRUTHOUT The United Nations released a dire assessment of humanity’s impact on the world’s ecosystems and natural resources this week. Up to 1 million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction due to pollution, habitat loss, climate disruption and other consequences of human activity that are wreaking havoc on the planet. Many species could disappear within decades if current development trends continue. The U.N. assessment…

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White people cause the most pollution, but people of color suffer the most from it

By Ellie Anzilotti ~ Fast Company ~  Buying things–especially things that require a lot of shipping–causes air pollution. White people in the U.S. are bigger spenders, but the pollution their dollars create primarily affects people of color. If you are black or Hispanic in the United States, your environmental footprint is probably much lighter than the average white American. But at the same time, you probably breathe in much more…

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Energy burden: Why the poor pay more for electricity

By Sara Peach ~ Yale Climate Connections ~  Americans commonly spend three or four percent of their income on energy bills. But in many low-income communities, that number is higher. Smith: “In Atlanta, for example, you have some people paying over eleven percent of their income on utility bills, and if you add that to the transportation costs, housing costs, food costs – nothing is left over in many of…

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Jim Crow in our Climate Crisis

By Alycee Lane ~ Common Dreams ~ Our extreme weather is blowback from energy systems that were designed and operated in ways that entrenched inequalities Critics of House Resolution 109 (H. RES. 109)—the “Green New Deal” (GND) introduced in Congress by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.)—have condemned this nonbinding resolution for its inclusion of aspirations which, in their view, have nothing to do with climate change.…

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‘They chose us because we were rural and poor’: when environmental racism and climate change collide

By Megan Mayhew Bergman ~ The Guardian ~  The environmental movement has a long history in America’s south – yet people of color and impoverished communities continue to face dangerous pollution It doesn’t surprise me that the environmental justice movement began in the south, a place where, historically, the pressure of injustice builds until it explodes into organized resistance. The Warren, North Carolina, protests of 1982 are considered one of…

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Improving Infrastructure to Benefit Communities—Without Harming the Environment

By Jim Lyons ~ Center for American Progress ~  Improving and upgrading U.S. roads, bridges, and transportation networks; energy production and transmission systems; and other elements of human-made infrastructure is long overdue. As the new Congress begins its bipartisan, bicameral effort to pass an infrastructure bill, it’s important that it not come at a cost to the natural resources that benefit society. Instead, policymakers should view the infrastructure package as…

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The World Is on the Brink of Widespread Water Wars

By Dahr Jamail ~ Truthout ~  We Have Been Warned The most recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned of increasingly intense droughts and mass water shortages around large swaths of the globe. But even more conservative organizations have been sounding the alarm. “Water insecurity could multiply the risk of conflict,” warns one of the World Bank’s reports on the issue. “Food price spikes caused by droughts can inflame latent conflicts…

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Environmental laws only look good on paper, UN says

By Emiliano Rodríguez Mega ~ Sci Dev Net ~ A dramatic spike in the global adoption of environmental laws has failed to translate into better conservation efforts, according to a United Nations report, the first global evaluation of such laws. The document — which assessed national laws, regulations, and policies around the world — found that a lack of political will, underfunded agencies, unfair judicial systems and a poor implementation of the law has in fact…

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‘Green inequity’ plagues U.S. cities, study finds

By Matt Hickman ~ MNN ~  A lot of green in the bank means greater access to parks and trees. In America, financial wealth can get you a lot of things: power, prestige, influence and even greater access to woody vegetation. A newly released study conducted by forestry experts at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning uses census data and aerial imagery to…

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How global warming is adding to the health risks of poor people

By Abdul Rashid Thomas ~ The Sierra Leone Telegraph ~ The number of people dying due to climate-led changes in the environment are increasing and the poorest populations remain the hardest hit. Writing in theconversation.com, Lenore Manderson warns: “Developed economies are able to reduce environmental health risks through improved infrastructure, legal interventions and education. But the poorest populations, with the least political traction, remain vulnerable. Global warming simply adds to their health…

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