Black Climate Week raises awareness around environmental justice

CHARLOTTE — Feb. 19-24 marks Black Climate Week, across the country. The initiative comes from the national climate justice group, The Solutions Project.

The effort aims to bring awareness to the disproportionate impact of pollution, severe weather and climate change on Black communities, as well as connect those communities with potential solutions.

In Charlotte, Sol Nation is leading local efforts to mark the week. Tiffany Fant, the executive director, said the biggest environmental justice issues in the city revolve around pollution and air quality as well as urban heat islands and exposure to localized flooding.

“A lot of that is due to urban renewal and how a lot of redlined communities were just destroyed due to the highway infrastructure,” she said.

Fant said that means many historically Black neighborhoods were broken up or saw years of disinvestment as highways and heavy industry took over much of the land, leaving behind few trees, a lot of impervious land and major sources of air pollution.

For Black Climate Week, Fant said Sol Nation is working on spreading the word on these issues and connecting communities experiencing those disproportionate impacts with local resources and groups dedicated to finding a solution.

“Hopefully from that, some workshops can come on how activists, advocates and practitioners can better serve people,” she said.

On Thursday, Sol Nation hosted a focus group, on mental health and recovery after natural disasters and on Saturday, the group is leading a community cleanup off of Beatties Ford Rd.

Michelle Alfini

Michelle Alfini, wsoctv.com

Michelle is a climate reporter for Channel 9.