What’s the deal with Flint, Michigan?
No one man should have all that power: Clean Power Plan
Across the country, the color of your skin can dictate your likelihood of contracting allergies, developing breathing problems, and even access to clean water. However, like most environmental justice issues, the Clean Power Plan cuts across the border in economic justice, with new potential jobs within renewable energy, and health justice. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently finished accepting comments (advice from communities and people like you!) and will soon propose new regulations to the states with the aim of reducing carbon emissions, in most states by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. What does that mean for you? Well, it means cleaner air, cleaner water, and a healthier you. A reductionin CO₂ is a reduction in asthma, breathing problems, and premature deaths. Power plants and other pollutant-causing structures are often located in or near communities of color, causing greater disparities in health. Creating plans that utilize renewable energy reduce greenhouse gases and can impact communities of color the most.
Many states have to figure out ways to reduce emissions (which come from a number of sources like cars or industrial plants), without putting people out of work or bankrupting their treasuries. However, we can do our part to decrease the likelihood that communities of color are not disproportionately impacted regarding access to clean air or water.
If your state is resisting the EPA’s plans, there are a number of ways to be involved to clean up your community. Some states are bringing legal cases to challenge the EPA’s authority in how their state should respond to greenhouse gases. One way to impact these cases is by working with local organizations that are developing amicus briefs (which is basically a written statement to a judge or group of judges about why they should support or not support a side in the case). Another is to talk with your state representatives and senators and see what they are doing around this work.
We’ve been told to Fight the Power, but sometimes, we need to embrace the conversation. Each state capitol has a website you can visit and find out who your elected officials are. Most states have that information available by searching your zip code.
Working within organizations is one way to help advocate for raising the minimum wage. Sharing your story or the stories of others can make a world of difference in pushing the needle forward. For tips on citizen lobbying click here.