African-American Communities: More Environmental Challenges

As millions around the world celebrate Earth Day, there is cause for concern for minorities who face environmental injustice. 

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Need a reason to celebrate Earth Day? Here's one. According to the Center for American Progress, more than 71 percent of African Americans and 66 percent of Latinos live in areas that fail to meet one or more of the Environmental Protection Agency's air-quality standards.

The EPA says that our minority communities are susceptible to more environmental challenges because we tend to live closer together and are more likely to live near toxic wastelands and sewers. Additionally, because of the high incidence of air pollution in our communities, we also suffer from higher rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases.

As devastating as this is to hear, not all is lost. Many are rallying to combat these environmental problems in our communities. The Obama administration, at the behest of EPA head Lisa Jackson, has played a big role in bringing this issue to the forefront by restoring the Environmental Justice office at the department. Other individuals, such as Root 100 recipient Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green for All, and teen activist Kari Hulton are working to bring green initiatives to communities of color. 

Today's a great day to be reminded of all the tests we face, but also of how we can do our part to tackle the problem. Visit Green The Root: Living Better While Saving the Planet to see how you can help our communities of color. 

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