Natural Disasters, Climate Change Uproot Women of Color

jacquelinepattersonBy Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP Climate Gap Initiative

Cross-posted from TruthOut.Org The effects of climate change threaten everyone, but they do not threaten all people equally. Women are disproportionately affected by natural disasters, which are on the increase, as they experience higher rates of mortality, morbidity and post-disaster diminishment in their livelihoods. This pattern of disproportionate impact is echoed the world over, and it is where race, gender, class and climate change intersect. In the U.S., the women affected come in a wide swath -- every color, every ethnicity, every part of the country. In Michigan, a Latina is suffering from a rare form of cancer because of exposure to toxins from a coal burning plant. In Louisiana, an African American woman is being uprooted from the only home she knows because of the shrinking shoreline, while an Inuit woman in Alaska is being forced to move herself and her family to the mainland from her home of 20 years, also due to disappearing lands.