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.

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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.