Welcome to This Week in Equity Engagement on Twitter (TWEET) for the week of September 7, 2015. Our weekly hodgepodge of equity-related conversations covers a number of great topics this week, so let’s get to it:
The legislature passed a bill that will require translation of prescription drug labels. Our Executive Director Sarah de Guia commented on the measure on KQED.
As most of California endures near-record high temperatures this week, it seems like an appropriate time to discuss the intersection of the state’s historic drought, climate, and equity. A new report from Wendy Ortiz at the Center for American Progress, Lessons on Climate Change and Poverty from the California Drought, makes these connections and shows that low-income areas and communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the ongoing drought and climate change in general.
In her report, Ortiz summarizes the inequities faced by communities of color and low-income people and discovers that climate change serves as an escalating factor for these conditions:
The enduring effects of racial segregation and the underinvestment in low-income communities — in California and elsewhere — have placed people of color and low-income people in environments that threaten their physical and emotional health. Low-income communities and communities of color are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to poor-quality housing and infrastructure, proximity to environmental hazards, and economic instability. Because these communities have been institutionally excluded from accruing wealth and assets — which are prominent indicators of a family’s ability to prepare for unexpected shocks — they are less able to survive and recover from disastrous events.
Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown ensured that California would remain at the forefront of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in response to the growing threat of climate change. In an executive order, Brown stated that the state must cut greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. This interim target will help meet the goal of cutting emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, as established by Brown’s predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“In North America, California is now setting the pace, and we're very serious about it,” Brown told a crowd of hundreds at a climate change conference in Los Angeles. “We're going to take whatever steps are needed to get the job done, because our future depends on it.”
“Studies have shown that communities of color and low-income communities are more likely to live in areas with high exposure to pollutants, which can lead to higher levels of asthma and other respiratory conditions as well as cardiovascular events, low birth weight, and premature deaths.”
In the same report we discussed improving air quality as a vital strategy to address some of the key environmental determinants of health. We stressed that California should remain a leader in developing standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.