Some produce the climate catastrophe, others pay for it – this assumption describes the term "climate racism". Where does it come from and what is it?
When a toxic waste dump was to be built in Warren County, North Carolina, in 1982, the term "environmental racism" first came up – at least in a way that generated media coverage. A protester, the African-American civil rights activist Benjamin Chavis, is said to have introduced it. Warren County was one of the poorest counties in the state at the time, with two-thirds of the population being African American*s. Many of them resisted the landfill with demos, sit-ins and roadblocks, with over 500 protesters arrested in the process. The plant was built anyway. Shortly afterwards, PCBs, a building material dumped there, were banned worldwide – because they are carcinogenic and harmful to genetic material.
Those with little money are on average more affected by environmental risks
Since then, several studies have shown that People of Color (PoC) in the U.S. are exposed to more environmental risks than white people – in part because dirty industries are more often placed in regions where PoC are the primary residents. In 2018, an Environmental Protection Agency study found that blacks in the U.S. are exposed to an average of 1.5 times as much particulate matter as whites – Hispanics 1.2 times as much.