In the Global North, communities of colour are also arguably in crisis. In the UK, people of colour are clustered in major cities such as London, Manchester and Leeds, all of which have recorded some of the worst smog levels in the country. Smaller communities of colour have formed in factory towns: Blackburn’s minority population is at 31% and Burnley’s stands at 12% in comparison to the Lancashire average of 8%, and Derby has a sizeable Pakistani community. Living in a factory town exposes communities to gas emissions which have significant health impacts. In my ward of Edmonton, North London, a community that is 80% made up of people of colour, a new waste incinerator is in the works, alongside talk of clearing nature reserves for a new landfill site. In the United States, four of the states facing a water crisis are also home to the highest proportion of minority populations: California, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas. The US government has been deeply criticised for a lack of response to Hurricane Katrina, a tragedy which struck in 2005, disproportionately impacting and now continuing to haunt the black community. Clare Morganelli of the Climate and Clean Energy Programme notes how the housing market in Miami has become a case-study for “climate gentrification”; properties at higher elevations have risen in value, thus phasing out low-income, often minority, communities. A striking example of environmental racism in the US is the Love Canal tragedy, in which a New York neighbourhood, largely home to low-income and minority populations, became a dumping ground for Hooker Chemical Company. The fumes emitted by the waste were causing abnormal births and miscarriages. Speaking to Dr Elizabeth Blum, a professor who studied the Love Canal disaster, highlights the importance of seeing climate change as an “intersectional issue”: “[Love Canal] reveals a lot about race, class and gender”, she says. Similar to the Miami housing market, when landfill sites become part of a local area, the land value decreases, she tells me.
Sharlene Gandhi in Extinction Rebellion need to focus on the fact that climate displacement will largely impact communities of colour (Gal-dem.com)