Hurricane cleanup workers

As they face more extreme weather, many cities and states across the country are planning how to bounce back after disasters. But some environmental justice advocates say that’s not enough.

Bautista: “For us, bouncing back to what? Bouncing back to an inequitable system that disproportionately affects low-income communities of color negatively? No!”

Eddie Bautista of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance says low-income communities of color are often harmed most by pollution and climate change. So his organization advocates for finding ways to take climate action and bounce forward to a world that’s more equitable.

For example, as New York transitions to renewable energy, the Alliance is pushing for a mandate.

Bautista: “… that 40% of the state’s clean energy investment be targeted to these frontline communities that are disproportionately vulnerable because of their being the long-term siting of, for example, fossil fuel infrastructure.”

The goal is to create legislation that reduces inequality and reduces carbon pollution.

Bautista: “Doing both is not a luxury. It’s a necessity. And it’s totally doable.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.