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As scientists warn about the dangers of climate change, the environmental crisis is hitting Black communities the hardest. While time still remains to stave off the pending effects of climate change, citizens across the world must move quickly to help each other.

According to Jim Skea, professor of sustainable energy at Imperial College London, “It’s now or never” to address the climate crisis across the globe. Professor Skea is a co-author of a recent world-wide climate change report.

The information in the report adds to what millions already know: Countries must make immediate and drastic changes in order to mitigate the effects of climate change on citizens.

And Black people in the United States are already feeling the effects of climate change. In one instance, a study found that African-Americans breathe in 56% more particulate matter than White people.

Additionally, many underserved communities lie in the wake of manufacturing plants that produce intense pollution, as well as low-lying areas that are prone to flooding. 

The report by the United Nations also found that vulnerable populations face more intense storms. These include hurricanes, floods, and heat waves from climate change.

Countries must move to Green Energy to avoid worst effects of Climate Change

Immediate and intense emissions reduction is a key factor in reducing such effects. Countries must find ways to mitigate the effects of temperature increases caused by greenhouse gases.

One step is to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, including coal, oil, and natural gas. Such fuels cause an increase in the global temperature, according to scientists. Countries, including the United States, must find alternative fuel sources, such as solar energy and wind power. 

If not, Black communities may not survive. According to Dr. Beverly Wright, CEO of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University, “[Communities of color] are in double jeopardy” from the climate crisis. “First, if you’re a person of color, particularly Black or Latino, you’re more likely to live near toxic facilities, like petrochemical companies in Louisiana, producing toxins that shorten and impact quality of life.”

“For poor communities, there’s also not having access to health insurance or medical services. Communities of color are disproportionately affected by all of these things,” Dr. Wright added.

However, opportunities still exist to make positive changes against climate change. According to Stephanie Roe, Global Climate and Energy Lead Scientist at the World Wildlife Fund, “There is a really amazing role that we can play, not just as consumers, but also as professionals. And it’s not about individual actions necessarily. It’s about individual actions that make cascading impacts across society.”

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...

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