Climate Change is CRITICAL to Our Communities

By Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP Climate Gap Initiative When a lot of us hear about climate change we might think, "Well, I like the polar bears as much as the next person, but there are definitely more pressing issues to work on in our communities than worrying about some melting ice near Antarctica!" Unfortunately, it's not as simple as that. Climate Change is about Katrina, Rita, and Ike devastating communities in Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, and Texas. Climate Change is about our sisters and brothers in the Bahamas who will be losing their homes to rising sea levels in the coming few years. Climate Change is about our folks in Detroit, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere who have died from exposure to toxins from coal fired power plants. Climate Change is about sisters and brothers in West Virginia who are breathing toxic ash from blasting for mountain top removal mining. Climate Change is about our folks in Thibodaux, Louisiana who are being forced to move within the next 10 years because rising sea levels will result in the submersion of the coastal land that is their home currently. It's about the fact that race--over class--is the number one indicator for the placement of toxic facilities in this country. Climate Change is about us.