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Youth Voices for Promoting Racial Understanding and Respect and Advancing Racial Equity, Inclusion,
and Environmental Justice

Many people acknowledge that climate change is real and believe that it is an environmental issue. However, the large majority of people are still unaware that climate change is a social, racial, and human rights issue.

Human activity has largely contributed to climate change. The major cause of global warming is the burning of fossil fuels because it releases an abundance of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In fact, people from higher-income communities often produce more greenhouse gas emissions from driving cars to get to their day-to-day places, flying planes to go on vacation, using air conditioning during the summer, and more. However, although people from higher-income families contribute more to climate change, people of color and individuals with lower income are usually suffering from the adverse effects of climate change. Disadvantaged and vulnerable communities often have industrial sites and toxic waste facilities placed near their homes. There is a clear inequality present.

The negative implications of climate change have made a disproportionate impact on communities with people of color and lower-income households. Clearly, climate change is not only an environmental issue but also a racial and social injustice issue as well.

Everyone must embrace diversity and inclusion within our communities as well as take an active role in ending racism. Thus, it is imperative to have healthy, honest discussions regarding race relations and empathy in order to advance racial equity, respect, inclusion, and social and environmental justice.

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