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Giving Compass' Take:
• As climate disasters continue to intensify, Katell Ane explains the devastating impact of extreme weather on American workers' health.
• Why it important to maintain a racial equity lens in contingency plans for American workers' health? How can you contribute to prevention and recovery efforts for increasing climate disasters?
A recent report from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reveals the devastating effects of climate change on the health of American workers. It warns that both indoor and outdoor workers will suffer from the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme heat, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, drought, and infectious diseases.
“Protecting workers from climate change is entirely within our grasp,” Juanita Constible, Senior Advocate at the NRDC and Co-author of the report, tells Food Tank. “But [it] will get harder the longer we wait.”
The report, “On the Front Lines: Climate Change Threatens the Health of America’s Workers,” includes 14 personal stories from workers across the United States. Spotlighting their experiences, the stories describe how climate change threatens workers’ jobs, health, and ability to care for their families.
“When we embarked on this project, we didn’t expect to be talking about grade school teachers or flight attendants,” Constible says, “I’m hoping the stories will convey the seriousness and urgency of the climate crisis in a way that science alone sometimes can’t.”
The report details the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires across the U.S. It also explains that as temperatures rise, more Americans will work in extreme heat. These conditions make workers more susceptible to muscle cramps, vomiting, heart attacks, and heatstroke. They also increase the risk of occupational injuries by compromising balance, motor control, and vision.
These trends are anticipated to threaten the economic stability of workers by reducing work hours and take-home pay, and by increasing rates of houselessness and work-related injuries. This will disproportionately impact Black and Latinx workers, who are overrepresented in occupations threatened by climate change, according to the report.
Read the full article about climate change and American workers' health by Katell Ane at Food Tank.