The NRDC recently published Themes and Findings from a Survey of African-Americans on Climate and Clean Energy. The press release shared that ⅔ of African-Americans believe global warming is a serious problem. This major poll shows African-Americans think shifting to clean energy will create jobs and hold down electric bills.
Like just about all other populations, African Americans want responsible action promoting employment. They want job creation that does not create a hazard for the environment or the worker. They want sustainable career paths that protect and encourage clean air and water supplies. An industry that changes the last century’s pattern — and does not deplete or misuse resources with a deathly impact.
The poll indicates support for the Clean Power Plan to address the growing climate crisis. The information, via Green For All and the Natural Resources Defense Council, reports that “83 percent of African-Americans back setting the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from coal and gas-fired power plants under the Clean Power Plan’s standards, which the Environmental Protection Agency finalized in August.”
Who among us does not want clean air, clean water, and fair sustainability opportunities for all. As we know and NRDC reiterates, “as the nation drives down dangerous carbon pollution, it can drive up the use of clean, renewable wind and solar energy.”
People know the shift to clean energy will also create new jobs. The NRDC reports that 6 times more African Americans believe clean energy will create more jobs than job losses. “And 57 percent believe that expanding clean energy will reduce— not raise—their energy costs.”
Continuing: “The African American community has been hard hit by injustice, from violence against young people to disproportionate environmental harms from pollution, so it’s no surprise the community wants action.
“It’s time to hold polluters accountable and fight the pollution that causes climate change,” said Adrianna Quintero,The African American community has been hard hit by injustice, from violence against young people to disproportionate environmental harms from pollution, so it’s no surprise the community wants action. It’s time to hold polluters accountable and fight the pollution that causes climate change,” said Adrianna Quintero, director of Partner Engagement at NRDC.
Vien Truong, Director of Green For All, said: “This polling shows that communities of color care about climate change and want to be part of creating solutions to pollution. Climate change affects us all — and it hurts low-income communities and communities of color first and worst. This information shows a ripe opportunity to engage communities of color. By reflecting the diversity of our country, the climate movement will be stronger and better on equity and environment.”
Mark Davis, CEO of minority-owned WDC Solar, said: “I am a Green For All Climate Champion, and renewable energy and energy efficiency are two pillars of our plan for low-income communities to lower the cost of energy, create green jobs for low-income residents, and improve the environment. The Clean Power Plan can accelerate an increase we’ve already seen in African-American participation in clean energy and can enhance economic empowerment in low-income communities.”
Voices such as the Catholic Pope Francis and others have bridged this imaginary gap between religion and “green” — as Native American Indians historically have. In fact, pointing to the very sacred trust of purity, not toxicity, in environmental choices, Rev. Stacey Edwards-Dunn, executive minister of community engagement and transformation for Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, said: “Climate change not only imperils the natural wonders of God’s creation, but it also threatens to cause enormous human suffering. Worldwide, we are facing severe drought, famine, disease, and disasters as a result of our climate crisis. We have a moral obligation to do all we can to lessen its impacts on our children and future generations.”
Unfortunately, it is often the poor — albeit whatever color of skin — that suffers housing in the most toxic neighborhoods.
Yes, it is inherent that they want to protect their families. The impacts of a changing climate are dangerous to the poor and indigent due to lack of protective measures due to poverty — along with neighborhood problems such as “food deserts” that enable malnutrition. Add in the toxic load coming as an unpleasant byproduct of the factory, chemical industry, or power plant down the street, and the story gets even more depressing.
“The African American community has seen rates of childhood asthma increase a whopping 50% between 2001 and 2009. Sixty-eight percent of African Americans, furthermore, live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant,” NRDC writes.
Here are some more key findings from the poll on African Americans’ views on energy and climate matters, via NRDC:
African Americans view global warming as a major problem:
- While crime, economic issues and education rank as the most serious issues, 60 percent of African Americans rank global warming among the most serious issues.
- 67 percent of African Americans say that action should be taken to reduce the threat of global warming.
- They want action on climate change more than adults generally. Only 3 percent of African Americans say concern about global warming is unwarranted, compared to 13 percent of all Americans.
African Americans strongly believe a shift to clean energy will be good for jobs and their energy bills:
- 66 percent of African Americans say using more renewable energy will translate into new jobs, while only 11 percent expect job losses.
- More than half, 57 percent, believe that shifting to cleaner energy will reduce their energy costs, and only 18 percent will increase those electricity bills.
African Americans overwhelmingly favor using more renewable energy than getting power from coal or nuclear:
- 87 support using more solar power and 83 support more wind energy.
- 42 percent favor getting more power from coal and 36 support more nuclear energy.
African Americans overwhelmingly embrace the Clean Power Plan and states developing state-based clean energy plans to implement it:
- 83 percent support the Clean Power Plan, with 63 percent in strong support. Just 9 percent oppose the plan.
- 82 percent back states developing clean energy plans that help cut carbon pollution, improve energy efficiency and boosting renewable energy.