The dangerous heat and severe storms that have become our new normal are the unequivocal impact of climate change. And as the Biden Administration is working to push through the solutions in its climate agenda, The Movement for Black Lives is taking steps to ensure that communities of color are a part of the conversation. On August 25, the group announced the Black Hive initiative, their new plan to address climate change and its impact on the Black community.
The initiative is bringing together Black environmental leaders from over 200 organizations across the country to assess the impact of climate change on communities of color. It also plans to revive the Black Climate Mandate, which recommends “investing in equitable climate solutions that center Black communities’ concerns.”
“The climate crisis is happening because of corporate greed, government negligence, the divestment of solutions and the investment into the harmful institutions like the fossil fuel industry, that are harming our people,” said Valencia Gunder, national co-lead of The Black Hive. “It’s time for America to address the anti-Black racism that happens here.”
Research has shown that communities of color are hit hardest by the impacts of climate change. Segregation has placed African Americans in the low-lying, flood-prone areas hit hardest by dangerous storms. And a 2019 study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that African Americans breathe in 56 percent more particulate matter than they produce from their consumption, confirming racial inequities in pollution exposure.
The Biden Administration just scored a big win with the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes provisions such as consumer home energy rebate programs for low-income consumers and investments in community-led environmental justice programs.
But according to Aleta Alston-Toure′ of the Parable of the Sower Intentional Community Cooperative, the Inflation Reduction Act doesn’t go far enough to protect communities of color, which is why The Movement for Black Lives is stepping up. “These solutions are Band-Aids,” she said.“There’s no solution if Black (communities) and Indigenous nations, especially the Gulf South, have to suffer in order to have Band-Aid solutions for the wider public. We want to be taken serious and know that our votes matter because this is a lynching of our communities, and we have to be heard.”