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5 Ways Climate Change Affects The Mental Health Of Young People

THE ORLANDO ADVOCATE — The European Parliament’s recent ban on single-use plastic products was hailed as a positive step in the world’s battle against climate change. Yet at the same time, younger generations around the world want to see more government action.

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Youth are increasingly latest fallout of climate change

By Frank Butler

The European Parliament’s recent ban on single-use plastic products was hailed as a positive step in the world’s battle against climate change. Yet at the same time, younger generations around the world want to see more government action.

Deeply concerned about their future as dire forecasts of a worsening environment continue, students from across the globe keep protesting. And while the threats often associated with climate change are to physical health, homes, the air, water, and economy, psychologists says the toll it takes on young people’s mental health can’t be ignored.

“The impact that all the aspects of climate change have on mental health is far-reaching,” says Leslie Landis (www.chendell.com), a family therapist and author of Chendell: A Natural Warrior, a fantasy novel with environmental themes. “It’s especially profound after natural disasters on teens, children and young adults – stress, depression, anxiety, and strains on relationships.

“On the other hand, the activism many young people are engaging in due to climate change is very mentally healthy. They’re inspiring others and trying to bring about action by getting people to take climate change seriously.”

Landis outlines some positive and negative impacts that climate change is having on the mental health of young people:

Positives

  • Activism. Young people are leading the way to fight climate change by forming mass protests around the globe. ”Climate justice is a fight for the future,” Landis says. “Despite rising sea levels, wildfires, extreme weather events and dire warnings from scientists, politicians globally haven’t responded as needed. And young people are enraged; they know that doing nothing, sitting silently, severely threatens their future.”
  • Innovation. In Congress, 29-year-old Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has put climate change solutions at the forefront with her proposed legislation, the “Green New Deal.” Young entrepreneurs are growing profitable businesses by focusing on environmentally friendly innovations. “Each project is an inspiring example of how young people are taking creative approaches to combating climate change,” Landis says. “In each there’s some solidarity, which is key to progress being made.”

Negatives

  • Anxiety, stress. “Fear of extreme weather, changing weather patterns, or worrying about what the future will look like because of climate change increases stress and anxiety,” Landis says. “That in turn can cause depression, sleep disorders and weaken the immune system.” One report says young people with depression and anxiety might be disproportionately more at risk for worsening symptoms due to climate change.
  • Trauma, shock. Natural disasters caused by climate change bring a high potential for severe psychological trauma from personal injury, the injury or death of a loved one, loss of personal property, and loss of pets. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can result when feelings of helplessness and despair last for long periods.
  • Strained relationships. “Disasters can not only hit the structure of the home hard, but also the infrastructure of family relationships,” Landis says. “Relocations or just missing the usual conveniences can result in constant tension. Children may have to attend a different school, and the safe world revolving around their home doesn’t exist anymore.”

“We keep hearing the warnings about catastrophic conditions in the coming years, which add to lost hope among a lot of young people,” Landis says. “But the activism and ideas they engage in provide hope. And confronting a problem head-on is a wonderful way to achieve mental wellness.”

This article originally appeared in The Orlando Advocate

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  1. Black Voices Muted

    Black Voices Muted

    April 21, 2019 at 11:42 am

    @ChendellSeries @OrlandoAdvocate @NNPA_BlackPress It’s prophecy.

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#NNPA BlackPress

COMMENTARY: Celebrity Trials, Legacies Lost, Lives Shattered, What’s the Real Truth?

NNPA NEWSWIRE — …the odds of a black man winning inside an American courtroom are tantamount to President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell waiting tables at a soul food restaurant in Harlem and offering reparations for slavery.

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The Cosby, Simpson and Jackson trials are the subject of my new book, “Celebrity Trials: Legacies Lost, Lives Shattered. What’s the Real Truth?”

By Stacy M. Brown
@StacyBrownMedia

When National Newspaper Publishers Association President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., assigned me to cover the Bill Cosby criminal trial in 2017, I didn’t think it would be as taxing as the experience of covering Michael Jackson’s trial in 2005 and the infamous O.J. Simpson civil trial a decade prior to that. I was wrong.

The three trials are the subject of my new book, “Celebrity Trials: Legacies Lost, Lives Shattered. What’s the Real Truth?”

The book is available in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.com.

As for the Bill Cosby trial, I initially thought I would get the cold shoulder from Cosby, whom I had famously (or infamously) called at his home in 2014 when his sexual assault scandal first broke.

“I just want the Black Press to be fair,” Cosby told me, before almost daily inviting me back to a private sitting room to discuss the case.

In truth, Cosby wanted all media to be fair. That he felt the need to ask for fairness is shameful, but in the era of Fake News, it was understandable.

Cosby would even call me at home and speak with my wife and children, telling them to behave themselves and, of course, making them roll on the floor laughing with his latest jokes.

And, after two jury selections, two trials, a hung jury and ultimately a guilty verdict and prison, it was even easier to understand why Cosby asked for fairness – he didn’t get it from mainstream media and only the Black Press presented — with pin-point accuracy — the accounts of a trial that was reminiscent of how trials against black men were carried out during and before the Civil Rights era.

It is probably why many African Americans still celebrate the not guilty verdicts bestowed upon Michael Jackson and O.J. Simpson.

Because all too often, the odds of a black man prevailing in a high-profile criminal court case being tried in an American courtroom are tantamount to President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell waiting tables at a soul food restaurant in Harlem while offering reparations for slavery.

The day Cosby was to be sentenced, he called me while enroute to the courthouse.

I said to him, “Don’t you have an appointment?”

To which he said, “I’m not worried about that.”

He wanted to know how my son was doing.

You see, during the course of our conversations, I shared with him something that was troubling my son, and Cosby and his crisis manager, Andrew Wyatt, made it a point to check in regularly.

And, on the day he knew he was losing his freedom – within moments of actually losing that freedom – Cosby’s concern was the well-being of my son.

I not only covered Jackson’s trial, but had the unenviable task of being called as a prosecution witness.

I remember briefly speaking with Michael Jackson the day before my testimony.

He offered me his Bible and we shared a brief laugh. He was with his children and he and I both were in a bit of a hurry.

Emotionally, I felt badly for Michael. But rationally, I believed he was guilty of the charges being levied against him.

His brother-in-law was asked to testify against him, and I’ll never forget the phone call from him brother-in-law asking me to “please, see if you can talk to the district attorney, the detectives. If I testify against him, I’m going to lose my family.”

I had to help but, what could I do? In the end, he wasn’t compelled to testify, and Michael Jackson walked out of court a free man, but to borrow a phrase, he was “a dead man walking.”

At the time, California-based Sky News asked me where I saw Michael in five years. My response: “Dead.”

That was because Michael’s family had repeatedly told me that he was heavily using drugs.

Each time I saw Michael, it seemed to have confirmed their fears, although when he died four years after the trial ended, the medical examiner didn’t find any illegal drugs in his system.

During one of my visits to Neverland Ranch, Michael’s famous home, I remember seeing a guest book that he wanted every visitor to sign, and among the famous names was O.J. Simpson.

Simpson’s criminal trial in 1995 was an example of “wrong place, wrong time.” Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti decided to try Simpson in Los Angeles instead of Santa Monica where the crime took place.

Garcetti, in my mind, wanted a jury of blacks and other minorities to find O.J. guilty. However, Garcetti later explained to me that he asked for the venue change for the trial because the Santa Monica courthouse wasn’t large enough to accommodate the number of media and others covering and attending the trial. Imagine that, the media decides where justice takes place.

O.J., in my view, got away with murder.

He was found liable by a civil jury and ordered to pay $33 million (equivalent to $55.5 in 2019).

Even though he was acquitted of the murder charges (perhaps becauseof the fact that he was acquitted), Simpson never fully appreciated the zeal to see him behind bars — for any reason — held and maintained by a large percentage of the American public. As a result of that zeal and arguably, his own poor judgement, he served nearly a decade in prison for attempting to steal memorabilia that he argued actually belonged to him.

In 2007, Simpson was arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada and charged with armed robbery and kidnapping when he and a group of other men entered a room at the Palace Station Hotel Casino and took sports memorabilia at gunpoint.

While Simpson admitted to taking the items, which were previously stolen from him, he denied breaking into the hotel room and also denied that he or anyone else was armed.

Simpson was arrested along with three other men and charged with multiple felony accounts. Eventually, all three of Simpson’s co-defendants plea-bargained with the prosecutors in exchange for reduced sentences and an agreement to testify against Simpson at trial that guns were used in the robbery.

For more behind-the-scenes insights into the legal sagas of Cosby, Simpson and Jackson, read my book.

Click herefor more information.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of BlackPressUSA.com or the National Newspaper Publishers Association

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#NNPA BlackPress

‘Black snow’ from sugarcane harmful to Black, poor communities in Florida?

NNPA NEWSWIRE — While these burnings have been going on for several years with groups rising up to combat them, a recent lawsuit against the Florida sugar industry has brought it to national light, bringing attention to an issue that has forced residents to take a stand.

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Because of the pre-harvest burning, the Glades communities have suffered economically as well. Whereas Palm Beach county and the state of Florida have seen an increase in real estate values, property values for the Glades community remain stagnant.

By J.S. Adams, Contributing Writer, The Final Call
@niiahadams

Thick black smoke plumes from sugarcane fields near Belle Glade, Fla., a predominantly Black community west of West Palm Beach and just south of Lake Okeechobee. Residents watch as red-orange flames engulf the sugarcane fields as the industry prepares for harvesting season.

These annual burnings, which take place from October to March, May or June, make it easier for farmers to harvest the sugarcane.

However, the side effects leave the residents of Belle Glade, South Bay and Pahokee with respiratory problems and a poor quality of life.

While these burnings have been going on for several years with groups rising up to combat them, a recent lawsuit against the Florida sugar industry has brought it to national light, bringing attention to an issue that has forced residents to take a stand.

The lawsuit, filed by the Berman Law Group in June, seeks to permanently end the pre-harvesting burning, obtain economic and property damages, and health monitoring, particularly for children, the poor and elderly.

“The firm has been working on this issue for a long time prior to me joining,” said Joseph Abruzzo, director of government relations for the Berman Law Group. “What put them on track was several clients alerting them to what was occurring with them and that spawned the investigation into hiring the experts (and) finding what was in the air of the Glades community.”

Joining the fight in this lawsuit is Frank Biden, the younger brother of Presidential candidate Joe Biden, and former NFL player Fred Taylor, who grew up in the Glades community. In a video produced by the Berman Law Group, both agree the burnings need to stop.

The sugar industry burns about nine million tons of sugarcane foliage on 400,000 acres each year. EarthJustice, a legal group for environmental organizations, says the burning puts out more than 2,800 tons of hazardous pollutants into the air annually. According to the Sierra Club, an environmental non-profit organization, the sugarcane is burned in order to rid the plant of its outer layer so that the sugar stalk will remain.

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND DEC. 8 AND 9 –Horses graze in a field near the U.S. Sugar Corporation’s mill and refinery in Clewiston, Fla. Thursday, Nov. 8, 2001. Plunging prices last year forced the town’s largest employer, U.S. Sugar Corp., to lay off 300 workers to cut costs, a major blow in a community where nearly every business is tied to the green fields of cane and the huge mill beyond the railroad tracks. (AP Photo/Amy E. Conn)

Patrick Ferguson, the organizing representative for the Sierra Club’s Stop Sugar Field Burning Campaign, said health issues due to the burnings are a major concern.

“Exposure to pre-harvest sugar field burning pollution has been linked via medical research to many negative health impacts including respiratory diseases, cancer, cardiac disease, and poor infant health outcomes,” he said. “Many of the campaign volunteers either themselves suffer from respiratory issues or have family members who do. Some of our volunteers have young children who have to use breathing devices during the 6-8 months long harvesting season when sugarcane is burned.”

The lawsuit alleges that due to the burning, harmful pollutants are released into the air. It creates “black snow” during burn season, or ashes that fall down onto the Glades communities. Because of this, children in the Glades communities use breathing machines at night and walk to school with trash bags over their head to protect them from the black snow.

“There’s a lake, they have issues,” Mr. Abruzzo said. “I wasn’t too long ago out at one of the churches and multiple ladies had on white dresses. They know when the ash falls on your dresses … . You can’t swipe it away because it will create a black line. You blow it. The black snow is right in front of their faces, on their car, over their homes and worst of all, it’s in the lungs of the children and elderly.”

The Poor People’s Campaign held an event in Belle Glade where residents, pastors and activists had the chance to share their experiences about the burnings.

Steve Messam, a pastor born and raised in Belle Glade, shared how his father came to the United States from Jamaica as a contracted migrant worker hired to cut the sugarcane. The pastor got involved with the Sierra Club’s campaign because he noticed many of the people he knew were suffering from breathing difficulties.

“They were suffering from a lot of respiratory issues, whether it was asthma or allergies,” he said during Poor People’s Campaign gathering. “A lot of people were also dying from cancer at a crazy rate.”

Mr. Ferguson says the black snow and air quality affects not only health issues, but the community’s quality of life.

“You’re talking about the harvesting season lasting from October to May, some of the best months to be outside and enjoy the Florida weather and during days when large amounts of toxic burning takes place, people in the region are often forced to stay indoors,” he said.

Alina Alonso, director of the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County, said the health department uses a website called airnow.gov to monitor air quality within the region. She said air quality counts remnants that come from ash and into the air. The website measures air quality ranging from good to hazardous.

“Only those who are sensitive to the smoke or burnings will be affected by moderate,” Ms. Alonso said. “But if it gets above 100, then that’s unhealthy for everyone.”

Mr. Ferguson said many doctors in the area suggest options for residents that aren’t always reasonable.

“One common thread that we continue to hear is that doctors tell residents from the communities heavily impacted by pre-harvest sugar field burning that the best long term solution for their health issues is to move to an area with better air quality, which many residents don’t have the resources or the will to do so, nor should they have to do so,” he said.

Back in 2015, the Sierra Club filed a legal action asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the burnings.

“The way sugarcane burning is regulated makes it an environmental justice issue as well. Regulations in place are based off wind speed and direction that prevent burn permits from being issued when the winds would carry the smoke and ash toward the more affluent in eastern Palm Beach County,” Mr. Ferguson said. “However minimal protections are in place from the toxic smoke and ash when they blow toward the lower income rural communities within the Everglades Agricultural Area. This leads the predominantly African-American and Hispanic population of the Glades communities of western Palm Beach County that are surrounded by over 75 percent of the total sugarcane acreage in Florida to disproportionately bear the negative impacts of pre-harvest sugar field burning.”

The alternative that’s offered to the sugarcane industry is green harvesting.

“The Florida sugarcane industry already green harvests in small amounts each year. Other countries around the world have been phasing out of burning altogether because of the negative health and environmental impacts of pre-harvest burning but also because of the many benefits associated with green harvesting as well,” Mr. Ferguson said.

Because of the pre-harvest burning, the Glades communities have suffered economically as well. Mr. Abruzzo said whereas Palm Beach county and the state of Florida have seen an increase in real estate values, property values for the Glades community remain stagnant.

“Everybody knows if you move out there, you’ll have to deal with four months of black snow over your home,” Mr. Abruzzo said.

Mr. Ferguson believes that a shift towards green harvesting can help improve the economic condition of the community.

“[It] can create more economic opportunities which are important especially for the lower income Glades communities,” he said. “What the sugar industry considers as trash can be used to generate more electricity, create mulch, biochar, biofuels, and can even be used to create tree-free paper products.”

Florida sugar companies have caught wind of the Berman Group’s lawsuit and say that they believe in their practices.

“The health, safety and jobs of our communities all are vitally important to U.S. Sugar,” spokeswoman Judy Sanchez told Treasure Coast Newspapers in a statement. “We are American farmers and stand behind the safety and integrity of our farming practices, which are highly regulated and legally permitted on a daily basis by the government. Our farming practices are safe, environmentally sound, highly regulated and closely monitored.”

Ms. Sanchez also said company officials “live in these Glades communities and raise our families here—our children and grandchildren—in the neighborhoods, schools and churches throughout these small, close-knit farming towns.”

Mr. Abruzzo said he’s looking forward to the company providing the names of those officials who live in the area.

“One of the most disappointing things since the lawsuit was filed is the propaganda that the sugar companies are helping lead that we are well aware of and without question will be discussing in depositions, primarily, that the lawsuits are trying to put sugar out of business. That could be anything but the truth,” he said. “The sugar companies profit in the billions of dollars per year. I’m sure they wouldn’t even notice on their balance sheets doing it a proper way and not harming an entire community. This would create more jobs if they do it by hand. At the end of the day, they just can’t burn.”

Mr. Ferguson and volunteers that work with him have spent the past four years pressing this issue. He said it’s something that must be known all around the country.

“There’s no reason the sugarcane industry should continue to put short term profits ahead of the long-term health and welfare of the surrounding residents, especially when there are so many benefits that can be gained from transitioning to green harvesting,” he said. “It’s time for the industry to become better neighbors to the surrounding communities by stopping the burn and switching to green harvesting.”

“I believe it’s a very good thing that attention is being paid to this very important issue. The Glades has been suffering for a very long time.” Mr. Abruzzo said. “Ultimately, I do believe that the law will be with the people. Once this is corrected, I believe the Glades will stop being one of the poorest places in the country. It will be vibrant and flourishing.”

Mr. Abruzzo said the first step after the legal filing is to immediately get the sugar industry to stop burning while the case is going on. This case is federal, but they also plan to file state and individual claims.

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Afro

Air Pollution vs. People of Color

THE AFRO — As the 2020 race for Presidency of the United States unfolds, climate change is amongst one of the most pressing issues that the candidates are being asked to share their plan of action for. Americans across the United States are collectively acknowledging the climate crisis that has been unfolding over the years, 53 percent of Americans identify global warming as an “urgent problem that requires immediate government action,” according to a 2018 survey conducted by Langer Research Associates. 

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Accordingly to the Union of Concerned Scientists, people of color are being disproportionately affected by global warming due to alarmingly high exposure of PM2.5, a dangerous air pollutant. (Courtesy Photo)

By Brianna McAdoo

As the 2020 race for Presidency of the United States unfolds, climate change is amongst one of the most pressing issues that the candidates are being asked to share their plan of action for. Americans across the United States are collectively acknowledging the climate crisis that has been unfolding over the years, 53 percent of Americans identify global warming as an “urgent problem that requires immediate government action,” according to a 2018 survey conducted by Langer Research Associates.

While the collective consciousness in America and throughout the world is building around the climate crisis, there is an urgent need to recognize that people of color in America are disproportionately left the most vulnerable to the effects of global warming and climate change.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) have released a new study that highlights the disproportionately detrimental implications of air pollution on Asian American, Latino and African Americans in the District of Columbia. The UCS Air Quality Report looks at the alarmingly high exposure of PM2.5, a dangerous air pollutant.

PM2.5 is an air pollutant that is about 2.5 microns or less. The pollutant can be emitted into the air through the burning of both diesel and gasoline fuel. Due to its size, PM2.5 can spread rapidly and easily into one’s bloodstreams and can cause short term effects including irritation, sneezing, coughing and trouble breathing. The air pollutant is also known to put people in jeopardy of long term health effects including respiratory and cardiovascular issues, some of which have resulted in hospitalization and deaths. Children, the elderly and people with a history of respiratory and heart problems are at higher risk if exposed to PM2.5.

The report will provide more detail about the exposure levels of PM2.5 in these communities of color in Washington D.C. in addition to more details about the source of exposure, a way forward for a more environmentally friendly transportation system and the District’s involvement in the Transportation & Climate Initiative.

For more information about the Union of Concerned Scientists, you can visit www.ucsusa.org.

This article originally appeared in The Afro

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Community

New Sylvan Terrace Park Is Cause To Celebrate!

THE SAVANNAH TRIBUNE — The City of Savannah held an official opening for Sylvan Terrace Park this morning with a ribbon cutting ceremony. More than 40 community members and city staff gathered to celebrate the opening of the park. Many attendees were using the track and exercise stations before the event began.

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Sylvan Terrace Park (Photo by: savannahtribune.com)

By The Savannah Tribune

The City of Savannah held an official opening for Sylvan Terrace Park this morning with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

More than 40 community members and city staff gathered to celebrate the opening of the park. Many attendees were using the track and exercise stations before the event began.

The approximately one acre park has a 1/6 mile rubberized exercise track, park benches, and five exercise stations.

“We celebrate the opening of the Sylvan Terrace Park, a park that promotes health and well-being for our citizens to come and enjoy the fabulous 5th district,” said District 5 Alderwoman Dr. Estella Shabazz. “These improvements were made possible by SPLOST funds.”

Other neighborhood improvements in the Sylvan Terrace neighborhood included a new brick neighborhood sign on the intersection of Bull Street and Monterey Avenue and twenty-five lighted bollards to line Montgomery Street at the intersection of Staley Avenue.

The opening of Sylvan Terrace Park aligns with the priority of Neighborhood Revitalization within the Savannah Forward strategic plan. The park was built using voter approved SPLOST funds.

The ceremony was also attended by Mayor Eddie DeLoach, Mayor Pro Tem Carol Bell, State Representative Craig Gordon, and Sylvan Terrace Neighborhood Association President Lynne Hill.

This article originally appeared in The Savannah Tribune

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African American News & Issues

Lone Star College awarded $300,000 grant to aid students impacted by Hurricane Harvey

AFRICAN AMERICAN NEWS & ISSUES — Even after nearly two years, the effects of Hurricane Harvey are still felt today. Lone Star College students impacted by the storm are eligible to apply for a special scholarship thanks to a grant from the Qatar Harvey Fund and Rebuild Texas Fund.

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Photo by: Lone Star College

By Afram News

HOUSTON (June 19, 2019) – Even after nearly two years, the effects of Hurricane Harvey are still felt today. Lone Star College students impacted by the storm are eligible to apply for a special scholarship thanks to a grant from the Qatar Harvey Fund and Rebuild Texas Fund.

“We know firsthand the catastrophic damage Hurricane Harvey imposed on our community,” said Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor. “These funds will go a long way to help our students continue on the road to recovery and complete their education.”

LSC-Kingwood alone lost six of its nine buildings due to flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.

LSC will receive $300,000 to establish a new scholarship program to assist up to 300 students who had financial challenges after Hurricane Harvey. The funds, to be used for fall 2019 and spring 2020 classes, will help students get back to school and back on track with a combination of funds for tuition and related academic costs.

“We have heard so much about the negative ripple effect of Hurricane Harvey on the communities of southeast Texas. The damage goes far beyond physical damage and people are still recovering from the enormous financial burden that caused so many to stop or delay their education in order to meet urgent needs,” said His Excellency Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, Qatar’s Ambassador to the U.S. “We are honored to work with the Rebuild Texas Fund on what we hope will serve as a multiplier effect, a balance against the life-upending impact of Harvey, and allow these students to achieve in their academic studies and beyond.”

Funding is provided by the Qatar Harvey Fund, a $30 million gift from the State of Qatar in 2017 for the long term recovery of southeast Texas. The funding is granted through a partnership between the Qatar Harvey Fund and the Rebuild Texas Fund. The Rebuild Texas Fund, a collaborative project of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and the OneStar Foundation, was created to support the rebuilding of Texas communities hit hard by Hurricane Harvey.

“It’s important for Texas’ future that students return to their communities and complete their degrees. The Rebuild Texas Fund wants the communities hit by Harvey to continue to rebuild and come back stronger than ever – supporting our students and helping them complete their studies is an important part of that process,” said Neeraj Aggarwal, program director for the Rebuild Texas Fund.

The Rebuild Texas Fund supports organizations across all five regions impacted by Hurricane Harvey and that provide services in six focus areas: community and economic development; health; housing; education and child care; transportation and workforce; and capital for rebuilding small businesses.

About the Qatar Harvey Fund and the State of Qatar

Following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, the State of Qatar announced a gift of $30 million for the long term recovery of the storms victims in Texas. The Qatar Harvey Fund was created to administer the gift. For more information, visit www.QatarHarveyFund.com.

Qatar is an independent state in the southern Arabian Gulf. It has a population of approximately 2.7 million people, the majority of whom live in and around Doha, the capital. Diplomatic relations with the United States were established in 1972; in the same year, Qatar’s first diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C. opened. The relationship between the two countries has always been friendly, highly productive and reciprocal. Qatar is home to many Americans, and the United States is both Qatar’s largest foreign investor and its largest source of imports. Qatar-U.S. relations are growing continuously in multiple areas: economic, political, military, educational and cultural. Qatar is a close ally of the United States and a strong advocate of building a peaceful, prosperous and stable Middle East. Qatar has provided significant humanitarian and development assistance to countries around the world, including the United States.

About the Rebuild Texas Fund

The Rebuild Texas Fund is a collaborative project of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and the OneStar Foundation, established to support the rebuilding efforts in communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The Rebuild Texas Fund works alongside organizations and community leaders in the following six focus areas: community and economic development; education and childcare; health; housing; rebuilding small businesses and workforce and transportation. The Rebuild Texas Fund will fund projects and organizations through July 2019 and will continue to work alongside communities through August 2020. Funding through the Rebuild Texas Fund is provided to eligible nonprofit, government, corporate, and philanthropic organizations working on the ground in affected Texas communities. More information about the Rebuild Texas Fund is available at www.rebuildtx.org.

About Lone Star College

Lone Star College offers high-quality, low-cost academic transfer and career training education to 99,000 students each semester. LSC is training tomorrow’s workforce today and redefining the community college experience to support student success. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., serves as chancellor of LSC, the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area with an annual economic impact of nearly $3 billion. LSC consists of seven colleges, eight centers, two university centers, Lone Star Corporate College and LSC-Online. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.

This article originally appeared in the African American News & Issues

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Economy

California Recycling Bill Highlights Rift Between Mainstream Environmentalism and Environmental Justice Movement

OAKLAND POST — When a group of liberal lawmakers in the state capitol in Sacramento recently proposed legislation that would raise the amount of recycled plastic required in bottled beverages sold in California, many environmental activists lauded the move as a much-needed step in the fight to curb plastic waste.

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PHOTO: Dr. Dorecta E. Taylor
By Khalil Abdullah

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – When a group of liberal lawmakers in the state capitol in Sacramento recently proposed legislation that would raise the amount of recycled plastic required in bottled beverages sold in California, many environmental activists lauded the move as a much-needed step in the fight to curb plastic waste.

But as debate over the legislation begins to take shape, critics say that it is becoming increasingly clear that the proposed recycling requirement would, if enacted, have an unintended consequence that hurts one group in particular: low-income Californians, particularly those in African-American communities around the state.

The bill, AB792, would mandate that plastic bottles be made with 25 percent recycled plastic by 2021 before it steadily increasing the recycling requirement to 75 percent by 2030. The bill faces a major test in early July when the Senate Environmental Quality Committee considers whether to send it to the full Senate for a vote.

To supporters, the bill would put in place necessary targets to accelerate a reduction in California’s overall plastic use. But consumer advocates worry that the bill would create new production costs that average Californians would have to pay for.

A major concern is that the bill would unintentionally discourage bottled water consumption at a time when research shows that water is key for better nutrition and a successful diet.

The health implications are especially significant for African-Americans, who have experienced higher rates of diabetes than white Americans partly because of poor diet. The proposed legislation also comes at a time when studies have consistently shown black and Hispanic Americans are more inclined to drink bottled water than other ethnic groups.

In addition, research suggests that minority families without access to clean drinking water are more likely to turn to less healthy sugar-sweetened beverages. With African-Americans and Hispanics making up more than 60 percent of Californians suffering from obesity, some advocates say creating new barriers to healthy drinking options could put these individuals at an even greater risk of developing chronic conditions.

Therefore, experts and advocates are asking state lawmakers to slow down the pace of the bill in order to identify unintended consequences of the recycling legislation, regardless of its lofty goals.

The recycling bill has also had unintended consequences politically. It has exposed a rift between mainstream environmentalists and environmental justice advocates.

Specifically, some in the environmental justice movement complain that many mainstream environmental organizations have focused on high-profile issues like climate change and bottled-water recycling while largely neglecting the day-to-day environmental hazards that communities of color face in many American cities.

These environmental hazards largely stem from a number of factors, including rampant industrial development and unwise land-use policies in many cities. The toxic legacy that these communities confront include incinerators, landfills and contaminated water.

In fact, mainstream environmentalists have drawn heavy criticism for their relative silence during the water-contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, a predominantly African-American city where there is now a pressing need for bottled water.

The differences between the mainstream environmental movement and the environmental justice movement appears to have deep roots: research that has shown people of color and low socioeconomic status have been historically excluded from preeminent environmental groups, many of which are largely white and enjoy the support of wealthy funders.

In 2014, researchers conducted one of the most comprehensive studies examining the intersection between race and environmentalism in environmental institutions. Their conclusion: An overwhelmingly white “green insiders’ club,” with racial minorities occupying less than 12 percent of the leadership positions in the environmental organizations studied.

Dr. Dorecta E. Taylor, the study’s primary author, is a graduate of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and is presently professor of environmental justice at the University of Michigan, where she also serves as the program director of the Multicultural Environmental Leadership Development Initiative. She is also the university’s director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Taylor says White environmentalists are ignoring pressing environmental justice demands due to their failure to move outside of their own insular communities. She said, “One of the things they should be doing is stop being so afraid of people of color, and meet them, interact with them, cultivate them, and start recruiting them.”

Khalil Abdullah, is a Washington, D.C.-area writer and editor. He staffed the Committee on Transportation and Environment for the National Black Caucus of State Legislators before and while serving as executive director. As a national editor for San Francisco-based New America Media, he edited and occasionally wrote on environmental issues.

This article originally appeared in the Oakland Post.
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