Federal Wildfire Responses Subject to Racism, Economic Disparities, Study Finds
The federal government is more likely to take action aimed at reducing the severity of future wildfires in white and wealthy communities, according to new findings reported by the New York Times.
Poor households and people of color are disproportionately hurt by wildfires because they are often more physically exposed and are less likely to have insurance, and the new report from Resources for the Future shows the government's actions after a fire exacerbate those inequities.
Over the past decades, most people who moved to fire-prone areas were white and affluent, but rising housing costs are pushing lower-income families and families of color into those areas. These and other changes mean authorities need to improve on even basic elements of fire response like making sure non-English speakers are adequately informed of fire dangers and evacuation orders. The report follows a fire season, fueled by climate change, that obliterated records across the American West.
As reported by The New York Times.
One of the most important ways the federal government can cut wildfire risk is through so-called "fuel treatment" projects: reducing the amount of flammable vegetation in fire-prone areas, using either heavy machinery or by burning it off with a carefully controlled fire, set intentionally and for that purpose. But those projects are expensive, and Congress provides the government with funds to treat just a small fraction of the land at risk from fire each year.
Christopher Peters, president of the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, which aims to help Native American communities, said Native Americans are disproportionately exposed to wildfires because of where they live, but have a harder time getting federal agencies to reduce fire risk on nearby land. "When it comes to putting the dollars where their mouth is, they provide services to nonnative communities," Mr. Peters said.
For a deeper dive:
- Study: Feds Response to Hurricane Maria Slower, Less Generous ... ›
- Fighting Climate Change Is a Social Justice Issue Too - EcoWatch ›
- Kamala Harris Introduces Environmental Justice Bill in Senate ... ›
- Wildfires May Exacerbate Asthma in the Western United States - EcoWatch ›
By Anke Rasper
"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.
- World Leaders Fall Short of Meeting Paris Agreement Goal - EcoWatch ›
- UN Climate Change Conference COP26 Delayed to November ... ›
- 5 Years After Paris: How Countries' Climate Policies Match up to ... ›
- Biden Win Puts World 'Within Striking Distance' of 1.5 C Paris Goal ... ›
- Biden Reaffirms Commitment to Rejoining Paris Agreement ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?
- This Indian Startup Turns Polluted Air Into Climate-Friendly Tiles ... ›
- How to Win the Fight Against Plastic - EcoWatch ›
In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
- Appalachian Fracking Boom Was a Jobs Bust, Finds New Report ... ›
- Long-Awaited EPA Study Says Fracking Pollutes Drinking Water ... ›
- Pennsylvania Fracking Water Contamination Much Higher Than ... ›
To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.
A new EarthxTV film special calls for the protection of the Amazon rainforest and the indigenous people that call it home. EarthxTV.org
- Meet the 'Women Warriors' Protecting the Amazon Forest - EcoWatch ›
- Indigenous Tribes Are Using Drones to Protect the Amazon ... ›
- Amazon Rainforest Will Collapse by 2064, New Study Predicts ... ›
- Deforestation in Amazon Skyrockets to 12-Year High Under Bolsonaro ›
- Amazon Rainforest on the Brink of Turning Into a Net Carbon Emitter ... ›
In October 2020, two men living in Indonesia's South Kalimantan province on Borneo managed to catch a bird that they had never seen before. They photographed and released it, then sent the pictures to birdwatching organizations in the area for identification.