Even before a child is born in the US, their race plays a huge part in how they’ll experience heat and pollution.
It starts with America’s history of racist housing policies that segregated families of color into undesirable neighborhoods – and we can actually see the effects of those policies today: lots of pavement, little green space, and ultimately more heat. Meanwhile, in areas where white families live, the neighborhoods tend to have a lot more trees and shade, which leads to less heat. And as the climate warms, it’s black families who are most likely to be stuck in extremely hot areas.
Recent research is showing us that this isn’t just about being uncomfortable. Heat has an effect on everything – from pregnancies to our long-term health to our ability to learn.
As part of our environmental justice series, the Guardian’s Alvin Chang and Oliver Milman explain how the climate crisis and race have become inextricably linked in the US.