Opinion: Making the case for clean energy in frontline communities

Camden rowhouses

LAUREEN M. BOLES / NJ SPOTLIGHT – Climate change is the greatest existential threat that we have experienced. Yet the threat of climate change is not equal in all communities. The legacy of environmental racism has caused communities of color and low-income families to bear the brunt of disparate pollution and climate impacts for many years. With every major storm, flood and fire, we see the racial and economic disparities that exist every day in our society amplified and intensified.

This was certainly the case for New Jersey residents during Hurricane Sandy, where four of the five hardest-hit counties were among the poorest in the state. Communities of color and low-income communities are often located close to toxic industrial sites and natural gas pipeline infrastructure, have lower quality building stock, and lack adequate savings and insurance to rebound after a catastrophic event. These frontline communities are where climate change is being experienced first and worst …

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