Categories

Tag: equal opportunity

Climate Change is not an ‘Equal Opportunity’ Crisis

Sam Aptekar
Phuoc Le

By PHUOC LE, MD and SAM APTEKAR

In the last fifteen years, we have witnessed dozens of natural disasters affecting our most vulnerable patients, from post-hurricane victims in Haiti to drought and famine refugees in Malawi. The vast majority of these patients suffered from acute on chronic disasters, culminating in life-threatening medical illnesses. Yet, during the course of providing clinical care and comfort, we rarely, if ever, pointed to climate change as the root cause of their conditions. The evidence for climate change is not new, but the movement for climate justice is now emerging on a large scale, and clinicians should play an active role.

Let’s be clear: there is no such thing as an “equal opportunity” disaster. Yes, climate change poses an existential threat to us all, but not on equal terms. When nature strikes, it has always been the poor and historically underserved who are most vulnerable to its wrath. Hurricane Katrina provides an example of how natural disasters target their victims along racial and socioeconomic lines even in the wealthiest nations. Writes TalkPoverty.org, “A black homeowner in New Orleans was more than three times as likely to have been flooded as a white homeowner. That wasn’t due to bad luck; because of racially discriminatory housing practices, the high-ground was taken by the time banks started loaning money to African Americans who wanted to buy a home.” Throughout the world, historically marginalized communities have been pushed to overcrowded, poorly-built, and unsanitary neighborhoods where natural disasters invoke much greater harm.

Continue reading…

Registration

Forgotten Password?