SCAN Climate Change Awareness Campaign Day 4- Effects of Climate Change on BIPOC communities

SCAN Climate Action Awareness Campaign | Day 4- Effects of Climate Change on BIPOC communities

The link between climate change and racialized communities in Canada is deeply rooted in inequality in all its forms. Members of racialized communities often find themselves economically disadvantaged and socially marginalized, with limited access to political and economic resources. This lack of representation in decision-making processes leaves them vulnerable to the disproportionate impacts of climate change.

Racialized communities face a myriad of challenges, including limited access to healthcare, education, adequate housing, and infrastructure, as well as environmental pollution caused by government inaction on environmental racism. These conditions exacerbate their vulnerability, making them more susceptible to the adverse effects of climate change.

Environmental racism further compounds these challenges. It refers to the environmental laws, regulations, or practices that unintentionally or intentionally disadvantage certain racial or ethnic groups, leading to disproportionate environmental burdens. Factors such as non-scientific decision-making, exclusionary practices, and a lack of political influence contribute to the environmental injustices faced by Indigenous and Black communities in Canada.

Poverty, lack of political representation, limited enforcement and protection, and neoliberal policy reforms perpetuate environmental racism, leaving racialized communities at greater risk of exposure to pollution, contamination, and hazardous waste. This systemic injustice is a human rights concern, as highlighted by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which has recognized the disproportionate exposure to environmental risks faced by Black Canadians and other racialized communities.

Studies have shown that racialized populations, including South Asian, Filipino, and Latino groups, are disproportionately located near industrial sites and exposed to harmful pollutants. This exposure is linked to a range of health issues, including respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, and other adverse health outcomes.

While research on environmental racism in Canada provides valuable insights, there remains a need for greater attention from scholars and decision-makers to address this issue comprehensively. Racialized communities are often relegated to “sacrifice zones,” burdened with environmental risks due to historical inequalities in income and power.

Projects such as story maps explore the impacts of environmental racism on populations in Toronto, shedding light on its effects on health, food security, transportation, green spaces, community services, and gentrification. By addressing environmental racism and its intersection with climate change, we can work towards building a more equitable and sustainable future for all Canadians.

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