While others seem to roll their eyes at climate change buzz words such as “global warming” and “melting polar ice caps,” people of color seem to have a soft spot for the environment — 75 percent of minorities, according to a Green For All (GFA) poll, are concerned about climate change.
People of color are more likely to be concerned about the environmental hazards that threaten our biosphere because, for one, African Americans are admitted into emergency rooms for asthma at 350 percent the average rate of Whites, ThinkProgress reports. Of the six million Americans who live near a coal plant, 39 percent are residents of color. These energy sources emit carbon dioxide, a hazardous gas that experts say causes global warming.
In comparison to only 78 percent of Whites, a whopping 89 percent of Blacks support regulation on carbon dioxide pollution, according to a 2010 study conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.
“People of color care deeply about the environment and the impacts of climate change. We understand the urgency of these threats because we experience the effects every single day,” said Nikki Silvestri, GFA’s executive director.
Nearly 70 percent of minorities, according to the GFA poll, believe that climate change is an issue that needs to be addressed now, not later.
Here’s another reason why POC support climate action: Many have immigrated to the U.S. due to being displaced by Mother Nature’s wrath in their home countries. In 2013, more than 32 million people were forced out of their homes due to natural disasters. Most of them, ThinkProgress adds, were Asians and Africans. “Firsthand experience with the impact of climate change has made minorities firm believers in climate science,” says the site.
Among those polled, 62 percent of minorities say that we are not devoting enough attention and resources to curb climate change. And that’s why voters of color gravitate towards political candidates who express urgency in climate action.
Seventy percent of POC voters are more likely to support legislators that circumvent detractors who view climate change action as some kind of affliction to the economy.
“We know that tackling climate change won’t be easy,” Silvestri said. “We’re ready to come to the table to find solutions, so we can help communities of color not only survive the next climate disaster, but leap forward and thrive.”