Historic Heat Waves Disproportionately Impact Black Communities

    Published on:

    The Impact of Environmental Racism: How Heat Waves Disproportionately Affect Communities of Color

    As the country grapples with a historic heat wave this summer, the impact of extreme temperatures is being felt across the nation. In California, Death Valley reached a scorching 127 degrees, inching closer to breaking the record for the hottest temperature ever reliably measured on earth. Meanwhile, big cities like New York are struggling to find relief from the relentless heat, with Black residents disproportionately affected by heat-related ailments.

    The issue of environmental racism has come to the forefront as experts point to discriminatory housing practices like redlining as a root cause of the disparities in heat-related deaths. Redlining, a practice that began in the 1930s, systematically denied Black communities access to resources and investments, leading to neighborhoods ill-equipped to handle extreme temperatures.

    Recent studies have shown that neighborhoods with more Black and brown residents have less access to air conditioning and green spaces, exacerbating the impact of heat waves on communities of color. Experts warn that without significant changes, people of color will continue to bear the brunt of these extreme weather events.

    The intersection of systemic racism and climate change is a pressing issue that demands attention and action. As temperatures continue to rise, it is crucial that efforts are made to address the inequities that leave marginalized communities vulnerable to the devastating effects of extreme heat.