The impacts that climate change has and will continue to have on human health are broad and diverse. Some regions will be hit harder and some populations will be more effected than others. Often, low income communities and communities of color are disproportionately harmed and are frequently the last to receive help. As Ana Baptista writes in the Huffington Post below, "Environmental injustice is just one facet of the pernicious inequity threatening to tear America's social fabric. That the communities most in need of support are often the last to receive it is not new or surprising. But that doesn't make it right." Health practitioners can take proactive measures to lower the risk that these populations face by focusing on the communities and populations that need the most support. Join the movement of health leaders today and get involved.
By Ana Baptista I February 24, 2016
Crippled infrastructure and stalled economic activity is on no government's wish list. Realizing that climate change could make them a recurring reality, cities are ramping up their climate adaptation and resilience projects. Too often, however, low-income communities and communities of color are overlooked for this investment. That needs to change.
Senator Chuck Schumer recently announced that New York City will get $176 million in federal funding for storm protections. The ambitious project will fortify the Lower East Side and Southern tip of Manhattan, a densely populated coastline that is vulnerable to flooding. The plan includes state-of-the-art sea walls, temporary floodwalls, and expansive grass river beams to absorb waves and double as recreation areas when the sun is shining. It will improve the resilience of an area that needs protection against increasingly extreme weather and shield vulnerable public housing as well as the city's financial nerve.
This proactive project will protect jobs, residents and critical infrastructure--proving the value of considering climate change in long-term city planning. But it ignores the needs of the extremely vulnerable in other parts of New York and New Jersey. Low-income and working-class communities in the region, like the Rockaways, Newark, and Hunts Point, continue to be under-resourced in terms of climate resilience and adaptation. Their homes, businesses and economies continue to be threatened by rising sea levels, floods, torrential precipitation, extreme heat and powerful storms.
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