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Dear Decaturish – Today we think about justice and climate change is a justice issue

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Dear Decaturish – Today we think about justice and climate change is a justice issue

The earth. Source: NASA

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Dear Decaturish,

Martin Luther King, Jr. once stated, “creative power can pull down mountains of evil and level hilltops of injustice.” Although he wasn’t speaking about climate change, this quote is so applicable today.

Mother nature is now frequently reminding us that the climate crisis is upon us and affecting us now. This MLK day, let’s think about taking climate action to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Everyone benefits when we do so. We all breathe cleaner air, as consumers we save money, and most importantly, we help improve the lives of those around us. When you think about climate actions, such as insulating your home, purchasing energy-efficient appliances, using public transportation or walking, or committing to buy an electric car for your next vehicle, think about it in terms of leveling the hilltops of injustice!

How is climate action related to justice?

Higher income households have higher carbon footprints and lower income households spend a higher proportion of their income on their energy bills (this concept is termed energy inequity). Lower income households are therefore more affected by extreme weather, even though they do less to contribute to the problem.

Climate action helps stop injustice. A child born in 2020 is up to seven times as likely to experience a severe weather event than one born in 1960. Decreasing emissions today will decrease the likelihood of extreme weather for our kids and grandkids.

– Climate action can help the historically marginalized. Redlining, historical racist policies that previously disinvested in communities of color, also limited resources for green spaces and infrastructure. These areas now tend to be hotter than others and are more affected by extreme weather events.

– Climate action helps to stop injustice to the global poor. The global poor will bear much of the brunt of severe weather even though their countries emit less emissions than richer countries.

Martin Luther King’s work showed us that great things can happen when we come together to work towards justice. You can be part of this movement. Anyone who lives, works or plays in Decatur is invited to join the Decatur Cares about Climate Challenge. Watch this video to learn more or visit decaturclimate.com to see why your neighbors have joined.


Preeti Jaggi, M.D., pediatrician

Lisa Coronado, educator

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