ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE Volume 2, Number 4.
Peggy Shepard and Cecil Corbin-Mark
This special issue edited by WE ACT highlights climate justice: The need to develop studies, policies, and interventions that address the ethical and human rights dimensions of global warming, the disproportionate burden of legacy pollution, the unsustainable rise in energy costs for low income families, and the impacts of energy extraction, refining, and manufacturing on vulnerable communities. Climate change is the most significant social and political challenge of the 21st century. Carbon dioxide emissions caused by human activity are and will continue to impact the earth’s natural systems through global warming and sea level rise for generations to come. Climate researchers report that vulnerable communities, even in the most prosperous nations, will be the first and worst hit. In this country, the most impacted areas will be communities-of-color, Indigenous Peoples, and low-income communities that are socio-economically disadvantaged, disproportionately burdened by poor environmental quality, and least able to adapt. They will be the first to experience extreme heat events, respiratory illness, vector-borne infectious diseases, food insecurity, and natural disasters.