Currently spoke with Yinka Bode-George
, the environmental health manager for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, which is focused on engaging state lawmakers around environmental policies with a lens of environmental justice.
Bode-George spoke about how climate change exacerbates the cumulative impacts of environmental injustices. She says legislators are finally connecting these issues and writing legislation that addresses cumulative experiences instead of focusing on siloed individual issues.
“I attribute this to the Black Lives Matter uprising last summer, so more folks, I think for the first time, recognize how interdisciplinary these issues are,” said Bode-George.
As an example, she referenced the COVID-19 crisis and how it disproportionately affected already marginalized communities because of environmental factors.
“We’re not just talking about COVID, we’re talking about how folks had air pollution in their communities pre-COVID that created susceptibilities to COVID,” said Bode-George.
Bode-George says that as climate change and extreme weather events persist environmental health challenges are going to worsen. Just to name a few of the issues, Bode-George mentioned; asthma, housing inequities and extreme heat. These all pose health challenges, particularly to the most vulnerable communities, and will worsen as climate change persists.
“Name your issue, the climate crisis exacerbates it. And it’s devastating,” said Bode-George.
Fortunately, on the state level, many legislators are working on bills that systematically address environmental justice issues. Here are a few of them. — Abbie Veitch