Less-developed areas need climate financing and stronger conservation regulations. They must also target pollution from developed nations. A few actions are influencing disproportionate climate effects.
Rising Temperatures on the Equator
Atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions expanded by nearly 50% since the Industrial Revolution. The enhanced greenhouse effect is significantly increasing global temperatures. Countries on the equator are experiencing some of the most severe of these climate effects.
There are many islands off the coast of South America and Central America with high climate risks. Haiti is one island experiencing severe degradation from rising temperatures. In 2005, Haitians faced the fatal effects of Hurricane Katrina.
Ocean warming is increasing the frequency and intensity of hurricanes in southern regions. Storms absorb more heat and water vapors when they travel across warm waters. Ocean warming increases precipitation and wind speeds during hurricanes.
Climate change also increases sea levels, which enhances storm surges. Hurricane Katrina impacted many other under-developed nations in the Caribbean and Gulf Coast as well. Northern countries with more economic stability experienced little to no hurricane effects.
Disproportionate climate effects contribute to environmental racism. Nearly 1.5 billion individuals live in tropical regions. A significant portion of these individuals are people of color.
Environmental racism signifies the disproportionate burden of rising temperatures, pollution, and toxic hazards on minority groups. Areas experiencing high hurricane and wildfire frequencies, plus food scarcity risks, have more Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous community members. Regions with large Caucasian populations experience relatively fewer climate effects.
Some environmental racism effects come from direct impacts. Illegal dumping and resource exploitation can cause severe climate impacts. Indirect causes also influence adverse effects in low-income communities.
Greenhouse gas emissions have the most significant impact on climate change. Developed areas emit the largest amounts of carbon dioxide, which negatively affects regions designated as the “Global South.” Environmentalists refer to pollution outsourcing as “Not In My Back Yard-ism”, or “NIMBYism.”
Individuals in developed countries maintain their consumption rates without observing the ecological effects. Wealthy nations value comfortable and convenient lifestyles with minimal climate effects. Companies outsource natural resources and manufacturing to acquire products without pollution.
Young activists are calling out developed nations’ priorities for economic development over resource conservation. Exploiting less-developed nations for abundant production supplies causes severe climate effects. Under-developed countries are supporting NIMBYism to expand their own economic growth. This comes at a cost.
Outsourcing environmental exploitation increases soil erosion, emissions, and resource depletion in impoverished regions. Soil erosion minimizes areas’ abilities to yield abundant crops. Climate-related food scarcity may increase hunger rates.
Increasing local emissions also decreases individuals’ lung health in less-developed nations. Individuals in high-pollution regions experience increased risks of asthma, lung cancer, stroke, and heart attacks. There are various climate recovery and conservation tactics individuals may follow to prevent adverse environmental effects.
Individuals may prevent less-developed nations from experiencing environmental racism and disproportionate effects by donating relief supplies. The demand for blood and medical supplies rises after climate-related hurricanes and wildfires. You may become a blood donor to support relief efforts in at-risk regions.
Residents of developed areas can also invest in smart technologies to shrink their carbon footprints. Autonomous thermostats and energy meters regulate buildings’ emissions and reduce pollution. Individuals may also install energy-efficient devices to minimize emissions.
Replacing incandescent lights with light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs can reduce one’s energy waste by nearly 75% from illumination. LED lights also last about 25 times longer than traditional bulbs, which reduces landfill pollution. Another significant way to minimize disproportionate climate impacts is shopping locally.
Individuals can reduce transportation emissions and resource exploitation by purchasing locally crafted goods. They may explore companies’ environmental impacts before purchasing products and services. Over time, eco-conscious actions can significantly reduce ecological degradation.
Taking a Stand Against Environmental Exploitation
Residents of developed nations can take a stand against NIMBYism and outsourcing by voting for change. Some regions are holding corporations responsible for their manufacturing emissions in less-developed areas to prevent disproportionate climate effects. The United Nations seeks to protect all countries from climate impacts regardless of their developmental stages. The UN leads by example, but real change must begin locally.
See more posts from Jane Marsh at environment.co
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