Arguments and resources to help you be a better advocate
At a recent conference, I made a pretty straightforward argument that goes like this:
- The built environment contributes nearly 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions (28% operational, 11% embodied).
- Climate change disproportionately impacts minority and marginalized communities. The folks who contribute the least are hit first and hardest, and often lack equitable access to resilience resources like insurance.
- Work that attempts to mitigate or lessen the built environment’s climate change impacts is equity work and should be treated that way. To be effective advocates, we need to explicitly communicate this connection.
There are many ways to design, build and operate buildings to reduce their climate impacts, ranging from energy efficient design to selection of lower carbon materials (decisions made possible by tools like the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator, or EC3).
The first point is well-documented and the data really speaks for itself — nearly every “green building” presentation starts by citing this 40% statistic. The second point is also well-documented, but as a practitioner, I found it difficult to locate and save the latest research and data points, so they could be easily accessed and leveraged to advocate for sustainable design.
So, I created this post as a collection of those resources and a reference for advocates. This is obviously a work in progress, and by no means an exhaustive list. In fact, I am intentionally trying to collect articles that demonstrate the many, diverse ways that climate change impacts minority communities, so that advocates can speak to the issues that most resonate with their audience or community.
I will update this list periodically and I welcome suggestions for contributions from others.
City of Seattle Office of Civil Rights, Seeking Environmental Justice: Heat waves disproportionately affect BIOPC communities
Seeking Environmental Justice: Heat waves disproportionately affect BIPOC communities
Highways. Industrial zones. Redlining. Restrictive covenants. The history of housing and urban policies have made…
CNN, Climate change is fueling mass-casualty heat waves. Here’s why experts say we don’t view them as crises
Climate change is fueling mass-casualty heat waves. Here's why experts say we don't view them as…
Scientists and psychologists told CNN the response has to do with how humans view crises.
AGU Advancing Earth and Space Science, US-wide, non-white neighborhoods are hotter than white ones
US-wide, non-white neighborhoods are hotter than white ones
AGU press contact: Liza Lester, +1 (202) 777-7494, email@example.com (UTC-4 hours) University of California San Diego press…
New York Times, Dispossessed Again: Climate Change Hits Native Americans Especially hard
Dispossessed, Again: Climate Change Hits Native Americans Especially Hard
Many Native people were forced into the most undesirable areas of America, first by white settlers, then by the…
New York Times, Since When Have Trees Existed Only for Rich Americans?
Opinion | Since When Have Trees Existed Only for Rich Americans?
By Ian Leahy and Yaryna Serkez Ian Leahy is the vice president of urban forestry at American Forests. Yaryna Serkez is…
New York Times, Ida Reveals Two Louisianas: One With Storm Walls, Another Without
Ida Reveals Two Louisianas: One With Storm Walls, Another Without
A massive flood protection system built around New Orleans helped save it from flooding during Hurricane Ida…
USA Today, People of color face disproportionate harm from climate change, EPA says
Additional reports and research are collected in a previous post, at this link. If you have feedback, or an article or report you would like to see added, reach out by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.