Taking a left-wing angle on “climate change,” New York Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor swerved into radical racial ideas on black victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Alcindor reported from Galveston, Texas, “In Sweltering South, Climate Change Is Workplace Hazard.” The text itself had a more provocative racial activist tone, with unchallenged allegations of racism around Hurricane Katrina and the Trump administration, and a shout-out to Black Lives Matter:
Adolfo Guerra, a landscaper in this port city on the Gulf of Mexico, remembers panicking as his co-worker vomited and convulsed after hours of mowing lawns in stifling heat. Other workers rushed to cover him with ice, and the man recovered.
But for Mr. Guerra, 24, who spends nine hours a day six days a week doing yard work, the episode was a reminder of the dangers that exist for outdoor workers as the planet warms.
“I think about the climate every day,” Mr. Guerra said, “because every day we work, and every day it feels like it’s getting hotter.”
The photo caption: “Advocates are trying to bring the message of environmental justice to working class people like Mr. Guerra.”
And so much for the liberal Times' concern for preserving blue-collar jobs:
But to Robert D. Bullard, a professor at Texas Southern University who some call the “father of environmental justice,” the industrial revival that Mr. Trump has promised could come with some serious downsides for an already warming planet. Professor Bullard is trying to bring that message to working-class Americans like Mr. Guerra, and to environmental organizations that have, in his mind, been more focused on struggling animals than poor humans, who have been disproportionately harmed by increasing temperatures, worsening storms and rising sea levels.
“For too long, a lot of the climate change and global warming arguments have been looking at melting ice and polar bears and not at the human suffering side of it,” Professor Bullard said. “They are still pushing out the polar bear as the icon for climate change. The icon should be a kid who is suffering from the negative impacts of climate change and increased air pollution, or a family where rising water is endangering their lives.”
Residents of working-class communities in the Sun Belt often cannot afford to move or evacuate during weather disasters. They may work outside, and they may struggle to cover their air-conditioning bills. Pollution in their communities leads to health problems that are compounded by the refusal of most Sun Belt state governments to expand Medicaid access under the Affordable Care Act.
Mr. Guerra, who said he could not afford health care and feared this summer could lead to more spells of sickness, is hoping he can get a new job once he finishes the industrial mechanic program at College of the Mainland. Until then, he plans to use the $115 a day he makes mowing lawns to pay for school and rent. Mr. Guerra also hopes President Trump will reconsider his environmental policies.
Alcindor even let Bullard make some radical jabs at the environmental movement from the left:
Professor Bullard and others in his field have hosted conferences on climate change and environmentalism at historically black colleges and have taken groups of black students to climate meetings to educate them on the intersection of race, income and the environment
“I’ve been doing this work for 40 years and I have seen change; 25 or 30 years ago, many of the white organizations that were doing environmental work, they had no black members, no black staff and no black people on the board,” he said. “They had no contact with black communities and communities of color, and that has changed a bit.”
Alcindor briefly admitted the science was “dicey” -- but why hesitate when there is change to be made:
When people like Professor Bullard talk of a warming climate producing more frequent and stronger storms, Ms. Little shudders. Attributing Ike’s power to a warming climate is scientifically dicey, but to her the warnings of climate scientists ring true.
“Climate change is my life,” Ms. Little said.
Bullard even flagged Hurricane Katrina as part of global warming, despite the lack of evidence (major hurricanes which struck the U.S. have actually been down in the last decade, and made it a racial issue. Racist hurricanes, anyone?
Alcindor just rolled with it, posing no challenging questions to the extremist allegations, and even hinting at racism herself on the part of the Trump adminisration:
Professor Bullard said that part of his mission was getting people to understand the particular danger that storms like Ike can pose for working-class people. “We are bringing in the Black Lives Matter folks and talking climate justice and the black lives that were lost in New Orleans because of climate change and because of who was left behind on roof tops,” he said, referring to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “Racism left them behind on rooftops.”
And race is beginning to infuse the response to Mr. Trump’s environmental policies. When the president began transforming the Environmental Protection Agency, Mustafa Ali, who is African-American, resigned after more than two decades there.
The inconvenient fact that minorities may disproportionately lose blue-collar fossil fuel jobs in the name of fighting "climate change"? Not mentioned in the Times:
The unleashing of the fossil energy sector that Mr. Trump has championed could have repercussions more immediate than the global climate. In Houston, predominantly African-American neighborhoods like Sunnyside and Pleasantville have been dealing with pollution from the energy sector for years
Lack of regulation was the culprit in Houston:
The Parras family has spent much of its time in Manchester, a community in Houston that is one of the most polluted places in the country. Because of Houston’s liberal land-use laws, the community is ringed by an oil refinery, a chemical plant, a car-crushing yard, a wastewater treatment plant and an interstate. In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency found toxic levels of seven carcinogenic air pollutants in the neighborhood.
Alcindor let an ambitious Democratic politicians liken environmental justice to the Civil Rights movement:
“You can’t have freedom and justice in this country if you can’t breathe your air, if you can’t open your window because of the toxic smells,” Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, said. “It may not be a billy club that is hitting you or a dog that is tearing your skin -- those images from the Civil Rights movement -- but it is violence to the body.”