Communities along the Gulf Coast routinely experience intense weather events. Acute and repetitive shocks - illustrated by the multiple Gulf regional hurricane landfalls during the 2020 hurricane season - have a disproportionate impact on communities in this region that are already burdened by chronic stressors such as systemic and structural racism, poverty, environmental degradation, and health disparities. Climate change threatens to exacerbate the severity of these impacts as disadvantaged and underserved communities fall further behind in their ability to prepare for, respond to, mitigate, or recover from disasters.
On June 24, 2021, the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a panel of three members of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council to discuss steps that are being taken or that need to occur to advance climate and environmental justice for those who call the Gulf of Mexico region home. The panelists discussed opportunities to equitably improve conditions in the Gulf of Mexico region, particularly within Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities. This event provided important perspective, though much work remains to elevate and examine the climate and environmental justice priorities of diverse communities, particularly Indigenous people, and to identify the mechanisms necessary to implement the recommendations offered by the panel members. This publication summarizes the discussion.
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