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Ayana Johnson is a Black marine biologist and a self-proclaimed policy nerd with a call to action for white colleagues: step up and understand the connection between climate justice and racial justice.
Not only does climate change disproportionately affect people of color, but people of color are more likely to be willing to engage in climate activism than white people. A recent Climate Change in the American Mind survey found that 69% of Latinos and 57% of African Americans are concerned by climate change compared to only 49% alarm raised by whites.
The pressing need to address structural racism limit black folks' time and energy to work on other projects, Johnson points out:
How can we expect black Americans to focus on climate when we are so at risk on our streets, in our communities, and even within our own homes? How can people of color effectively lead their communities on climate solutions when faced with pervasive and life-shortening racism?
The hours lost fighting systemic oppression can't be taken back. Johnson calls on white people to adopt a framework of anti-racism (distinguished from non-racism as an active fight against racism) and to "understand that our racial inequality crisis is intertwined with our climate crisis."