Social change work is hard and frustrating and wonderful and terrible; it is also, at times, funny, quirky and just plain fascinating. With this blog we hope to capture all that goes into what we do at Capital Good Fund, and we invite you to join the conversation!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Climate Change & Poverty

As hard as I work every day to come up with new and creative approaches to tackling poverty in America, I can't help but keep a wary eye on climate change.  It isn't just that recent storms have been unusually strong and destructive, or that 2012 was the hottest year on record.  No, what bothers me most is that climate change will only serve to strengthen the divide between rich and poor while threatening the natural resources upon which we depend for biological and emotional sustenance. As I talked about in my masters thesis, the poor pay more of their income, as a percentage, for energy than the non-poor; they are more likely to live in houses and neighborhoods with high levels of indoor and outdoor air pollution; they are less likely to be able to evacuate and/or relocate during and after a storm; and, in short, they are far more vulnerable to environmental damage than others.

Now a new report put out by the National Climate Assessment Development Advisory Committee once again highlights the severity of the crisis.  For instance, the report (which is still a draft, awaiting public comment) notes that "Many impacts associated with [the effects of climate change] are important to Americans’ health and livelihoods and the ecosystems that sustain us...The impacts are often most significant for communities that already face economic or health-related challenges, and for species and habitats that are already facing other pressures."