July 03, 2014


LAWT News Service


On June 27, celebrities mingled with environmental advocates on the roof of the Mondrian Skybar/Pool for an event supporting President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and specifically calling attention to the dangerous impacts of climate change on African-Americans.


TV stars Tatyana Ali, known for her role as Ashley Banks in “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and the upcoming “The November Rule,” and Lamman Rucker, star of Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married?” films and the TV series “Meet the Browns,” headlined the event for Los Angeles’ young environmental community. TheRoot.com hosted the event on the Mondrian Skybar, called “Young, Black and Green,” in order to raise awareness of the stakes for the community in addressing climate change.


“We have a moral obligation to future generations to leave them a planet that’s not polluted and damaged by carbon pollution,” said Lamman Rucker. “We don’t need our kids to develop asthma or even die from living near a power plant to know that too many of us have already been affected. It's time to set a limit on pollution that affects public health, and that’s why it’s so important that the President is rising to the challenge.”


Last month, The Obama Administration released a plan for the EPA to limit the carbon pollution from power plants. Carbon pollution causes climate change, whose rising temperatures worsen health-harming air pollution.  According to NRDC, fossil fuel-fired power plants are responsible for 40 percent of man-made carbon dioxide emissions.


A myriad of social and economic factors put African Americans at higher risk from climate change and carbon pollution, especially from health hazards such as asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments. Especially vulnerable are African-American kids, who often live closest to the sources of carbon pollution like power plants, highways and factories, and have asthma at rates of one in six, compared to one in ten nationwide.


Frequently, the issue comes down to physical proximity to pollution. The 2013 American Lung Association State of the Air Report found that “[n]on-Hispanic Blacks were… more likely to live in counties with worse ozone pollution.” And a study by the Center for American Progress found that nearly 70 percent of African Americans in California live within 30 miles of a power plant. According to CAP, “An analysis of polluting facilities in California found that 62 percent of residents living within six miles of a petroleum refinery, cement plant, or power plant were people of color. And a startling 68 percent of African Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant, compared to only 56 percent of the white population.” [Center for American Progress, 4/20/12]


“President Obama’s climate plan is full of common-sense solutions, starting with his call for the EPA to limit the carbon pollution from power plants,” said Adrianna Quintero of NRDC/Voces Verdes. “While we set limits for arsenic, mercury and lead, we let power plants release as much carbon pollution as they want.”


Throughout the event, several “Green Fact Moments” highlighted different pieces of the President’s climate action plan. For more information about the President’s plan or to pledge to act on climate, visit actonclimate.com.)


Category: Arts & Culture