[Content Note: Racism; classism; environmental toxicity.]
Yesterday, at the National Action Network Convention in New York, Hillary Clinton "announced a new plan to fight for environmental and climate justice. While she didn't dive into details during the speech, which was given to a largely African-American crowd at a Midtown hotel, her campaign released a fact sheet outlining the specifics of how to reduce many of the environmental burdens often felt within low income communities of color."
That fact sheet, "Hillary Clinton's Plan to Fight for Environmental and Climate Justice," is remarkable for a number of reasons, not least of which because, after explaining how "the burdens of air pollution, water pollution, and toxic hazards are borne disproportionately by low-income communities and communities of color," it reads: "Simply put, this is environmental racism."
I honestly didn't expect I'd ever hear a presidential candidate say those words.
She also plainly notes: "And the impacts of climate change, from more severe storms to longer heat waves to rising sea levels, will disproportionately affect low-income and minority communities, which suffer the worst losses during extreme weather and have the fewest resources to prepare."
Her detailed plan includes these goals:
* Eliminate lead as a major public health threat within five years.
* Protect public health and safety by modernizing drinking and wastewater systems.
* Prosecute criminal and civil violations that expose communities to environmental harm and work with Congress to strengthen public health protections in our existing laws.
* Create new economic opportunity through brownfield clean-up and redevelopment.
* Reduce urban air pollution by investing in clean power and transportation.
* Broaden the clean energy economy, build career opportunities, and combat energy poverty by expanding solar and energy efficiency in low-income communities and communities of color.
* Protect communities from the impacts of climate change by investing in resilient infrastructure.
* Establish an Environmental and Climate Justice Task Force to make environmental and climate justice, including cumulative impacts, an integral part of federal decision-making.
There is so, so much more at the link.
I frankly just feel really grateful for this. It represents a serious commitment to environmental justice, and, in an election where whoever the eventual Democratic nominee is will face a Republican opponent who thinks the jury is still out on climate change and/or doesn't give a single fuck about entire communities being endangered by contaminated water, environmental pollutants, and climate change, I am relieved that there is someone serious running for the job who's determined to bring real sensitivity and real plans to the Oval office.