Stop Climate Change From Killing Black Women and Children

Target: Representative Nancy Pelosi, US Speaker of the House

Goal: Take urgent action on environmental injustice to lower Black maternal mortality rates

Black women in the United States are four times more likely to die during birth and pregnancy than white women, according to a New York Times report. An increasingly common factor behind these high rates of death – which is not commonly discussed – is environmental injustice. Due to climate change, pregnant women are increasingly experiencing elevated levels of air pollution and higher temperatures. Both factors pose significant danger to mother and baby – and disproportionately so to Black women and children.

Studies as far back as a 1987 General Accounting Office report show that the biggest determinate in whether someone lives near a hazardous waste facility was race. A 2021 study found that “Black Americans are exposed to more pollution from every type of source, including industry, agriculture, all manner of vehicles, construction, residential sources and even emissions from restaurants,” as reported in the New York Times. The American Bar Association writes that “pregnant women exposed to high temperatures or air pollution are more likely to have children who are premature, underweight, or stillborn” and “living near areas with higher pollution increases the risk of lower birth weights and increases the risk of stillbirth by 42%.” These findings are extremely problematic. Also, those in the Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) community and people with lower incomes have been found to disproportionately experience higher temperatures over white or wealthy communities. This is because they live in areas with fewer green spaces and more concrete and asphalt.

Black women are already experiencing severely disproportionate rates of maternal mortality, and Black children experience more complications when born – such as lower birth weights or even stillbirths. This is unacceptable. It is well documented that climate change is rising temperatures, and those currently at risk will continue to experience greater levels of danger.  We cannot stand by and allow these environmental injustices to continue. Call on Nancy Pelosi to take urgent action to ensure justice for Black women and children.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Speaker Pelosi,

Black women in the United States are experiencing a maternal mortality crisis, they are four times as likely to die during birth and pregnancy than white women. Climate change is fueling these deaths through higher temperatures and greater levels of air pollution, and it is Black women and children who are paying a higher price.

For almost four decades, studies have found that race is the highest determinate of living close to a hazardous waste site. Last year a study determined Black people “are exposed to more pollution from every type of source,” as reported in the New York Times. Studies have also shown that BIPOC and low-income communities disproportionately experience higher temperatures over white or wealthy communities. These inequities are already literally killing Black women and children, and it is only going to get worse. You must act swiftly to end these environmental injustices to lower the rates of death and health complications for Black women and children.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue


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280 Signatures

  • Elizabeth Marino
  • MICHAEL GOEHRING
  • Anne Corrigan
  • Vanessa Nowitzky
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