1. The gas prices conversation we should be having
  2. Reclaiming Black land is challenging but not impossible
  3. Black clergy: Churches can sway views on climate crisis
  4. Can old Philadelphia refineries be cleaned up and restored?
  5. Here’s how Black Philadelphia can help in the environmental justice battle
  6. City Launches Environmental Justice Advisory Commission
  7. FIXING THE STRUGGLE SPACE
  8. SOLAR POLICIES ARE FALLING BEHIND – SO, HOW DO WE CATCH UP?
  9. IS PHILLY’S “TAP” WATER PROGRAM WORKING?
  10. Ian Harris
  11. Melissa Ostroff
  12. THE WATER BILLS ARE WAY TOO HIGH
  13. THE KEY TO APPROACHING FRONTLINE COMMUNITIES ON ALL THINGS GREEN
  14. ICYMI: Watch highlights, panels at ecoWURD’s 2021 Environmental Justice Summit
  15. BLACK MOTHERS NEED CLEANER & SAFER ENVIRONMENTS – IT’S A PUBLIC HEALTH IMPERATIVE
  16. USING DANCE TO SAVE A RIVER
  17. TRACKING PHILADELPHIA’S AIR QUALITY
  18. GETTING RELIGIOUS ON CLIMATE CRISIS
  19. WE NEED MORE BLACK PEOPLE IN AGRICULTURE
  20. WHEN THERE’S NO CLEAN ENVIRONMENT, WE HAVE NOTHING
  21. A PREMATURE END TO EVICTION MORATORIUMS
  22. THE LACK OF BELIEF IN CLIMATE CRISIS IS JUST AS MUCH A THREAT
  23. YOU CAN’T HAVE RACIAL JUSTICE WITHOUT FAIR HOUSING
  24. RUN OVER THE SYSTEMS: THE FUTURE OF ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM
  25. PENNSYLVANIA IS “WAY BEHIND” ON SOLAR. HOW DOES IT CATCH UP?
  26. Pandemic Relief For Black Farmers Still Is Not Enough
  27. A BLUEPRINT FOR THE NEXT URBANISM
  28. THAT ELECTRONIC & CLOTHING WASTE PILES UP. SO WHERE TO PUT IT?
  29. THE WOMB IS THE FIRST ENVIRONMENT
  30. A FRIDGE FOR EVERYONE WHO’S HUNGRY
  31. OLD SCHOOL FOSSIL FUEL ECONOMY VS. NEW SCHOOL CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY
  32. ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE IS THE TOP SOCIAL JUSTICE PRIORITY
  33. IN 2020, DID “BIG GREEN” BECOME LESS WHITE?
  34. CLIMATE ACTION CAN POWER OUR RECOVERY
  35. IN PANDEMIC, AN HBCU DOES IT BETTER
  36. A DANGEROUS LACK OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE PROTECTIONS
  37. HOW FAST CAN A BIDEN PRESIDENCY MOVE ON CLIMATE ISSUES?
  38. CRAFTING A BLACK-DRIVEN CORONAVIRUS AND CLIMATE “STIMULUS” AGENDA
  39. Penn to donate $100 million to Philadelphia school district to help public school children
  40. BLACK ECOLOGIES IN TIDEWATER VIRGINIA
  41. WHAT IS “FROM THE SOURCE REPORTING?”
  42. LEADERSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
  43. THE ECOWURD SUMMIT LAUNCH
  44. National Geographic Virtual Photo Camp: Earth Stories Aimed to Elevate Indigenous Youth Voices
  45. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2020
  46. TOO MANY NATURAL GAS SPILLS
  47. GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK
  48. BLACK VOTERS ARE THE ECO-VOTERS CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARE LOOKING FOR
  49. CANNABIS PROFIT & BLACK ECONOMY
  50. THE NATURE GAP
  51. BLACK PEOPLE NEED NATURE
  52. WHAT IS TREEPHILLY?
  53. IS AN OBSCURE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE IN HARRISBURG DOING ENOUGH?
  54. AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTALISM’S RACIST ROOTS
  55. “THERE’S REALLY A LOT OF QUIET SUFFERING OUT THERE
  56. “WE NEED TO GET INTO THE SUPPLY CHAIN”
  57. “AN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW THAT GIVES YOU A VOICE”
  58. URBAN PLANNING AS A TOOL FOR WHITE SUPREMACY
  59. HEAT WAVES REMIND US CLIMATE CHANGE IS STILL HERE
  60. Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land
  61. IN PANDEMIC, MAKING SURE PEOPLE EAT & HOW HBCUs HELP
  62. WE’RE NOT DONE, YET – MORE ACCOUNTABILITY IS NEEDED AT THE PES REFINERY SITE
  63. COVID-19 IS LAYING WASTE TO RECYCLING PROGRAMS
  64. THE PHILADELPHIA HEALTH EQUITY GAPS THAT COVID-19 EXPOSED
  65. THE POWER OF NEW HERBALISM
  66. THERE’S NO RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
  67. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit
  68. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit 2020 Press Release
  69. Too Much Food At Farms, Too Little Food At Stores
  70. THE LINK BETWEEN AIR POLLUTION & COVID-19
  71. CORONAVIRUS REVEALS WHY ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS STILL THE CRITICAL ISSUE OF OUR TIME
  72. FROM KATRINA TO CORONAVIRUS, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
  73. COVID-19 SHOWS A BIGGER IMPACT WHERE BLACK PEOPLE LIVE
  74. THE CORONAVIRUS CONVERSATION HAS GOT TO GET A LOT MORE INCLUSIVE THAN THIS
  75. MEDIA’S CLIMATE CHANGE COVERAGE KEEPS BLACK PEOPLE OUT OF IT
  76. “WE DON’T HAVE A CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS”
  77. PHILADELPHIA HAS A FOOD ECONOMY
  78. HOW URBAN AGRICULTURE CAN IMPROVE FOOD SECURITY IN U.S. CITIES
  79. MAPPING THE LINK BETWEEN INCARCERATION & FOOD INSECURITY
  80. PHILLY’S JAILS ARE, LITERALLY, MAKING PEOPLE SICK
  81. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2019
  82. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit
  83. “We Can’t Breathe: Zulene Mayfield’s Lifelong War with Waste ‘Managers’”
  84. “Is The Black Press Reporting on Environmental Issues?” by David Love
  85. “The Dangerous Connection Between Climate Change & Food” an interview with Jacqueline Patterson and Adrienne Hollis
  86. “An Oil Refinery Explosion That Was Never Isolated” by Charles Ellison
  87. “Philly Should Be Going ‘Community Solar'” an interview w/ PA Rep. Donna Bullock
  88. “Is The Litter Index Enough?” an interview w/ Nic Esposito
  89. “How Sugarcane Fires in Florida Are Making Black People Sick” an interview w/ Frank Biden
  90. Philly Farm Social – Video and Pictures
  91. #PHILLYFARMSOCIAL GETS REAL IN THE FIELD
  92. THE LACK OF DIVERSE LEADERS IN THE GREEN SPACE Environmental Advocacy Organizations – especially the “Big Green” – Really Need More Black & Brown People in Senior Positions
  93. PLASTIC BAG BANS CAN BACKFIRE … WHEN YOU HAVE OTHER PLASTICS TO CHOOSE FROM
  94. WE REALLY NEED POLITICAL STRATEGISTS LEADING ON CLIMATE CHANGE – NOT ACADEMICS
  95. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS IN A MUCH MORE CLIMATIC WORLD
  96. A SMALL GERMANTOWN NON-PROFIT “TRADES FOR A DIFFERENCE”
  97. IS PHILLY BLAMING ITS TRASH & RECYCLING CRISIS ON BLACK PEOPLE?
  98. BUT WHAT DOES THE GREEN NEW DEAL MEAN FOR BLACK PEOPLE?
  99. HOW GREEN IS PHILLY’S “GREENWORKS” PLAN?
  100. The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy event recap #ecoWURD #phillyisgreen
  101. Bike-friendly cities should be designed for everyone, not just for wealthy white cyclists
  102. RENAMING “GENTRIFICATION”
  103. FOUR GOVERNORS, ONE URBAN WATERSHED IN NEED OF ACTION
  104. JUST HOW BAD IS THE AIR HURTING PHILLY’S BLACK FAMILIES?
  105. EcoWURD Presents:The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy
  106. IF YOU ARE LOW-INCOME OR HOMELESS, THE POLAR VORTEX IS LIKE A FORM OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
  107. NOT JUST FLINT: THE WATER CRISIS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY
  108. DO THE TRAINS STOP RUNNING? THE SHUTDOWN’S IMPACT ON MASS TRANSIT
  109. BLACK WOMEN & THE TROUBLE WITH BABY POWDER
  110. A WHITE COLLAR CRIME VICTIMIZING NICETOWN
  111. IN NORTH CAROLINA, CLIMATE CHANGE & VOTER SUPPRESSION WORKED HAND-IN-HAND
  112. LOW-INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS WOULD GAIN THE MOST FROM GREEN ROOFS
  113. YOUR OWN HOOD: CLOSING THE GENERATIONAL GREEN DIVIDE IN BLACK PHILADELPHIA
  114. THE PRICE OF WATER: LITERAL & FIGURATIVE THIRST AT WORK
  115. THAT CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT TRUMP DIDN’T WANT YOU TO SEE? YEAH, WELL, IT’S THE LAW
  116. RACIAL & ETHNIC MINORITIES ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO WILDFIRES
  117. NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTTS Philly Has a Cigarette Butt Problem
  118. HOW SUSTAINABLE CAN PHILLY GET?
  119. USING AFROFUTURISM TO BUILD THE KIND OF WORLD YOU WANT
  120. UNCOVERING PHILLY’S HIDDEN TOXIC DANGERS …
  121. WILL THE ENVIRONMENT DRIVE VOTERS TO THE POLLS? (PART I)
  122. ARE PHILLY SCHOOLS READY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE?
  123. 🎧 SEPTA CREATES A GAS PROBLEM IN NORTH PHILLY
  124. 🎧 BREAKING THE GREEN RETAIL CEILING
  125. That’s Nasty: The Cost of Trash in Philly
  126. 🎧 How Can You Solarize Philly?
  127. 🎧 “The Environment Should Be an Active, Living Experience”
  128. Philly’s Lead Crisis Is Larger Than Flint’s
  129. Despite What You Heard, Black Millennials Do Care About the Environment
  130. Hurricanes Always Hurt Black Folks the Most
  131. Are You Going to Drink That?
  132. The Origins of ecoWURD
  133. We Seriously Need More Black Climate Disaster Films
  134. 🎧 Why Should Philly Care About a Pipeline?
  135. 🎧 Not Just Hotter Days Ahead… Costly Ones Too
  136. Philly’s Big and Dangerous Hot Mess
Tuesday, July 5, 2022
  1. The gas prices conversation we should be having
  2. Reclaiming Black land is challenging but not impossible
  3. Black clergy: Churches can sway views on climate crisis
  4. Can old Philadelphia refineries be cleaned up and restored?
  5. Here’s how Black Philadelphia can help in the environmental justice battle
  6. City Launches Environmental Justice Advisory Commission
  7. FIXING THE STRUGGLE SPACE
  8. SOLAR POLICIES ARE FALLING BEHIND – SO, HOW DO WE CATCH UP?
  9. IS PHILLY’S “TAP” WATER PROGRAM WORKING?
  10. Ian Harris
  11. Melissa Ostroff
  12. THE WATER BILLS ARE WAY TOO HIGH
  13. THE KEY TO APPROACHING FRONTLINE COMMUNITIES ON ALL THINGS GREEN
  14. ICYMI: Watch highlights, panels at ecoWURD’s 2021 Environmental Justice Summit
  15. BLACK MOTHERS NEED CLEANER & SAFER ENVIRONMENTS – IT’S A PUBLIC HEALTH IMPERATIVE
  16. USING DANCE TO SAVE A RIVER
  17. TRACKING PHILADELPHIA’S AIR QUALITY
  18. GETTING RELIGIOUS ON CLIMATE CRISIS
  19. WE NEED MORE BLACK PEOPLE IN AGRICULTURE
  20. WHEN THERE’S NO CLEAN ENVIRONMENT, WE HAVE NOTHING
  21. A PREMATURE END TO EVICTION MORATORIUMS
  22. THE LACK OF BELIEF IN CLIMATE CRISIS IS JUST AS MUCH A THREAT
  23. YOU CAN’T HAVE RACIAL JUSTICE WITHOUT FAIR HOUSING
  24. RUN OVER THE SYSTEMS: THE FUTURE OF ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM
  25. PENNSYLVANIA IS “WAY BEHIND” ON SOLAR. HOW DOES IT CATCH UP?
  26. Pandemic Relief For Black Farmers Still Is Not Enough
  27. A BLUEPRINT FOR THE NEXT URBANISM
  28. THAT ELECTRONIC & CLOTHING WASTE PILES UP. SO WHERE TO PUT IT?
  29. THE WOMB IS THE FIRST ENVIRONMENT
  30. A FRIDGE FOR EVERYONE WHO’S HUNGRY
  31. OLD SCHOOL FOSSIL FUEL ECONOMY VS. NEW SCHOOL CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY
  32. ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE IS THE TOP SOCIAL JUSTICE PRIORITY
  33. IN 2020, DID “BIG GREEN” BECOME LESS WHITE?
  34. CLIMATE ACTION CAN POWER OUR RECOVERY
  35. IN PANDEMIC, AN HBCU DOES IT BETTER
  36. A DANGEROUS LACK OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE PROTECTIONS
  37. HOW FAST CAN A BIDEN PRESIDENCY MOVE ON CLIMATE ISSUES?
  38. CRAFTING A BLACK-DRIVEN CORONAVIRUS AND CLIMATE “STIMULUS” AGENDA
  39. Penn to donate $100 million to Philadelphia school district to help public school children
  40. BLACK ECOLOGIES IN TIDEWATER VIRGINIA
  41. WHAT IS “FROM THE SOURCE REPORTING?”
  42. LEADERSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
  43. THE ECOWURD SUMMIT LAUNCH
  44. National Geographic Virtual Photo Camp: Earth Stories Aimed to Elevate Indigenous Youth Voices
  45. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2020
  46. TOO MANY NATURAL GAS SPILLS
  47. GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK
  48. BLACK VOTERS ARE THE ECO-VOTERS CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARE LOOKING FOR
  49. CANNABIS PROFIT & BLACK ECONOMY
  50. THE NATURE GAP
  51. BLACK PEOPLE NEED NATURE
  52. WHAT IS TREEPHILLY?
  53. IS AN OBSCURE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE IN HARRISBURG DOING ENOUGH?
  54. AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTALISM’S RACIST ROOTS
  55. “THERE’S REALLY A LOT OF QUIET SUFFERING OUT THERE
  56. “WE NEED TO GET INTO THE SUPPLY CHAIN”
  57. “AN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW THAT GIVES YOU A VOICE”
  58. URBAN PLANNING AS A TOOL FOR WHITE SUPREMACY
  59. HEAT WAVES REMIND US CLIMATE CHANGE IS STILL HERE
  60. Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land
  61. IN PANDEMIC, MAKING SURE PEOPLE EAT & HOW HBCUs HELP
  62. WE’RE NOT DONE, YET – MORE ACCOUNTABILITY IS NEEDED AT THE PES REFINERY SITE
  63. COVID-19 IS LAYING WASTE TO RECYCLING PROGRAMS
  64. THE PHILADELPHIA HEALTH EQUITY GAPS THAT COVID-19 EXPOSED
  65. THE POWER OF NEW HERBALISM
  66. THERE’S NO RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
  67. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit
  68. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit 2020 Press Release
  69. Too Much Food At Farms, Too Little Food At Stores
  70. THE LINK BETWEEN AIR POLLUTION & COVID-19
  71. CORONAVIRUS REVEALS WHY ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS STILL THE CRITICAL ISSUE OF OUR TIME
  72. FROM KATRINA TO CORONAVIRUS, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
  73. COVID-19 SHOWS A BIGGER IMPACT WHERE BLACK PEOPLE LIVE
  74. THE CORONAVIRUS CONVERSATION HAS GOT TO GET A LOT MORE INCLUSIVE THAN THIS
  75. MEDIA’S CLIMATE CHANGE COVERAGE KEEPS BLACK PEOPLE OUT OF IT
  76. “WE DON’T HAVE A CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS”
  77. PHILADELPHIA HAS A FOOD ECONOMY
  78. HOW URBAN AGRICULTURE CAN IMPROVE FOOD SECURITY IN U.S. CITIES
  79. MAPPING THE LINK BETWEEN INCARCERATION & FOOD INSECURITY
  80. PHILLY’S JAILS ARE, LITERALLY, MAKING PEOPLE SICK
  81. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2019
  82. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit
  83. “We Can’t Breathe: Zulene Mayfield’s Lifelong War with Waste ‘Managers’”
  84. “Is The Black Press Reporting on Environmental Issues?” by David Love
  85. “The Dangerous Connection Between Climate Change & Food” an interview with Jacqueline Patterson and Adrienne Hollis
  86. “An Oil Refinery Explosion That Was Never Isolated” by Charles Ellison
  87. “Philly Should Be Going ‘Community Solar'” an interview w/ PA Rep. Donna Bullock
  88. “Is The Litter Index Enough?” an interview w/ Nic Esposito
  89. “How Sugarcane Fires in Florida Are Making Black People Sick” an interview w/ Frank Biden
  90. Philly Farm Social – Video and Pictures
  91. #PHILLYFARMSOCIAL GETS REAL IN THE FIELD
  92. THE LACK OF DIVERSE LEADERS IN THE GREEN SPACE Environmental Advocacy Organizations – especially the “Big Green” – Really Need More Black & Brown People in Senior Positions
  93. PLASTIC BAG BANS CAN BACKFIRE … WHEN YOU HAVE OTHER PLASTICS TO CHOOSE FROM
  94. WE REALLY NEED POLITICAL STRATEGISTS LEADING ON CLIMATE CHANGE – NOT ACADEMICS
  95. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS IN A MUCH MORE CLIMATIC WORLD
  96. A SMALL GERMANTOWN NON-PROFIT “TRADES FOR A DIFFERENCE”
  97. IS PHILLY BLAMING ITS TRASH & RECYCLING CRISIS ON BLACK PEOPLE?
  98. BUT WHAT DOES THE GREEN NEW DEAL MEAN FOR BLACK PEOPLE?
  99. HOW GREEN IS PHILLY’S “GREENWORKS” PLAN?
  100. The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy event recap #ecoWURD #phillyisgreen
  101. Bike-friendly cities should be designed for everyone, not just for wealthy white cyclists
  102. RENAMING “GENTRIFICATION”
  103. FOUR GOVERNORS, ONE URBAN WATERSHED IN NEED OF ACTION
  104. JUST HOW BAD IS THE AIR HURTING PHILLY’S BLACK FAMILIES?
  105. EcoWURD Presents:The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy
  106. IF YOU ARE LOW-INCOME OR HOMELESS, THE POLAR VORTEX IS LIKE A FORM OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
  107. NOT JUST FLINT: THE WATER CRISIS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY
  108. DO THE TRAINS STOP RUNNING? THE SHUTDOWN’S IMPACT ON MASS TRANSIT
  109. BLACK WOMEN & THE TROUBLE WITH BABY POWDER
  110. A WHITE COLLAR CRIME VICTIMIZING NICETOWN
  111. IN NORTH CAROLINA, CLIMATE CHANGE & VOTER SUPPRESSION WORKED HAND-IN-HAND
  112. LOW-INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS WOULD GAIN THE MOST FROM GREEN ROOFS
  113. YOUR OWN HOOD: CLOSING THE GENERATIONAL GREEN DIVIDE IN BLACK PHILADELPHIA
  114. THE PRICE OF WATER: LITERAL & FIGURATIVE THIRST AT WORK
  115. THAT CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT TRUMP DIDN’T WANT YOU TO SEE? YEAH, WELL, IT’S THE LAW
  116. RACIAL & ETHNIC MINORITIES ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO WILDFIRES
  117. NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTTS Philly Has a Cigarette Butt Problem
  118. HOW SUSTAINABLE CAN PHILLY GET?
  119. USING AFROFUTURISM TO BUILD THE KIND OF WORLD YOU WANT
  120. UNCOVERING PHILLY’S HIDDEN TOXIC DANGERS …
  121. WILL THE ENVIRONMENT DRIVE VOTERS TO THE POLLS? (PART I)
  122. ARE PHILLY SCHOOLS READY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE?
  123. 🎧 SEPTA CREATES A GAS PROBLEM IN NORTH PHILLY
  124. 🎧 BREAKING THE GREEN RETAIL CEILING
  125. That’s Nasty: The Cost of Trash in Philly
  126. 🎧 How Can You Solarize Philly?
  127. 🎧 “The Environment Should Be an Active, Living Experience”
  128. Philly’s Lead Crisis Is Larger Than Flint’s
  129. Despite What You Heard, Black Millennials Do Care About the Environment
  130. Hurricanes Always Hurt Black Folks the Most
  131. Are You Going to Drink That?
  132. The Origins of ecoWURD
  133. We Seriously Need More Black Climate Disaster Films
  134. 🎧 Why Should Philly Care About a Pipeline?
  135. 🎧 Not Just Hotter Days Ahead… Costly Ones Too
  136. Philly’s Big and Dangerous Hot Mess

By David A. Love | ecoWURD Contributor

Climate change and environmental issues are impacting the Black community in a disproportionate fashion, a reality which gave birth to the environmental justice movement. Despite the increased importance of environmental issues in Black America — with a heightened level of consciousness on climate issues and African Americans taking a central role in that movement — much of the Black media does not or won’t cover the environment.  

In Philadelphia, WURD radio – the only Black talk radio station in the large state of Pennsylvania, and one of a few independently-owned Black talk stations in the nation – launched the ambitious ‘ecoWURD’ project covering the intersection of the environment, race and income. That’s culminated into a series of high-profile public events and heightened conversation on WURD that’s unlike any other Black radio station anywhere. Hence, ecoWURD is one of the more robust Black media efforts known covering environmental justice, climate and pollution issues from an entirely Black perspective.  “I don’t know any other outlet like this, no other Black outlet, putting in this much effort and dedicated resources on environmental issues,” longtime environmental advocate and founder of eco-Diversity Noemi Lujan Perez tells ecoWURD. 

But, even as Philly faces an onslaught of severe air quality, water quality and related public health issues disproportionately hitting Black Philadelphians, it’s still hit or miss. When reaching out to the Philadelphia Tribune, the largest and oldest daily Black newspaper in the country, there was no response to requests for comment. A search online found that over the years, however, the near-daily has had 23 articles on environmental racism, 80 on environmental justice, over 200 on Flint and the Flint water crisis and 758 on climate change. 

Elsewhere, in places like Minneapolis-St. Paul, where there are large Black populations dealing with environmental challenges, the record can be spotty. The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder once devoted more space to environmental matters, but for the state’s leading voice among the Black Press for 85 years, it all comes down to limited resources. 

Jerry Freeman, MSR senior editor, told ecoWURD that the paper until recently ran a biweekly page covering green topics and climate change. “We discontinued that page for two primary reasons: 1) difficulty finding content specifically related to environmental issues affecting Black communities and other communities of color, which often differ from the issues affecting White communities, and 2) difficulty finding advertisers and/or sponsors for the page’s layout/printing costs and creating our own copy as best we were able,” Freeman said. “We would consider reviving the page if we had the ads/sponsorship to support it and if we could find or create copy suited to our readership.” I think we should start with Philadelphia vs. Minnesota. Since our focus is Philadelphia we should be talking with Black media stakeholders closer to home examining how they cover environmental justice.

Black communities nationally are not only very aware of issues related to the environment and climate change (a term that is gradually evolving into “climate crisis”), they are also very concerned.  While a solid half of the American public says they have “personally felt the effects of climate change,” according to an August Economist/YouGov poll, about 56 percent of African American voters claim they have – the highest rate of affirmative response on that question from all demographic groups surveyed.  Nearly 75 percent of Black respondents surveyed expressed that they were either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about climate change, compared to 66 percent of Whites and a similar number of Latinos. And African Americans – at 62 percent response – were the most likely demographic to believe that the “severity” of hotter summers (this past July being the hottest ever recorded) is the direct result of climate change. 

In that same poll, environment (11 percent) also ranks as a top five issue for Black respondents – along with the economy (14 percent), education (11 percent), health care (18 percent) and Social Security (17 percent). 

Still, for a variety of reasons attributed to lack of resources and internal decision-making processes, Black media outlets by-and-large are not covering the environment or related issues in any concerted way. “We do not report much on environmental issues and climate change,” Patreice A. Massey, Managing Editor of the Michigan Chronicle told ecoWURD. “The environmental stories that we have covered have been things like the Flint water crisis. Environmental and climate change issues tend to be complex and we don’t have the resources to cover such issues in a way that would do it justice. Also, our readership engages more with community centered stories with a face.”

Similarly, publications such as the African American Voice in Colorado do not report on the environment, while the topic does not fit the format of many Black radio stations. “We are a music station and have limited discussions on environmental topics,” said Karen E. Slade, Vice President and General Manager of KJLH Radio FM in Inglewood, California.

Meanwhile, some Black news outlets take a different approach. For example, the St. Louis American covers the environment steadily, according to Chris King, editorial director of the newspaper. 

“We cover green issues as they come up. Like a few years back we did a series on climate change-based gentrification in Miami. We also closely cover Flint and its water issues. We feel that covering the environment is important, as black people are often deeply affected by it,” Danielle Belton, editor-in-chief of The Root told ecoWURD that “it’s an impactful story we have to stay on top of as African Americans are disproportionately affected by environment ills—from living in flood-prone areas to the high rate of asthma.” 

“It’s just crucial that we talk about these issues.”

Atlanta Black Star, which has extensive coverage of environmental justice matters. For example, a search on “environmental justice” yields over 100 articles, with 80 stories on environmental racism, 73 on the Flint water crisis, and 24 on climate change. Similarly, theGrio has published 232 climate change stories, 122 environmental justice stories, 85 articles on Flint and 49 on environmental racism. BlackPressUSA, which is a website of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), and NewsOne also feature some articles on environmental racism.   

It may depend greatly on the region and the priorities of a specific community. A few regional and local Black newspapers and magazines, for example, stand out in their in-depth treatment of green issues. One of those is the North Dallas Gazette. “Environmental racism is definitely on the radar in the Dallas community,” said Ruth Ferguson, Editor of the Gazette, a longstanding Black newspaper in Texas. Ferguson noted that while the African American community has dealt with more kitchen table issues in the past, it is getting to the point where it cannot afford to ignore climate change. Ferguson pointed to the problem of flash floods and the recent flooding of the First Baptist Church. “We have a church, not an African American church, that has been flooded twice after 50 years, and this is twice only in the last week,” Ferguson said.

“There was a situation with Shingle Mountain, an African American woman in the southern sector of Dallas,” Ferguson added. “A recycling company was illegally dumping shingles to the point it literally, next to a mountain. It took her raising a ruckus to the point where the city took the company to court and the company lost its permit.”  

Ferguson views “environmental injustice” as a buzzword rising on the radar of the African American community, and that’s definitely been the case in 2019. “They are becoming more sensitized that they can receive the short end of the environmental stick. Millennials are far more aware of environmental issues and I think that is leading to change.”

Oil is a big player in Texas. Ferguson noted that while Exxon is based in the Dallas area, environmental discussions regarding oil take place more in the Houston area, where offshore oil rigs are located. Other debates are taking place over the planned high-speed rail to connect Austin, Dallas and Houston, in which concerns over land rights and the environment are front and center. Fracking, and the unprecedented earthquakes resulting from it, are also triggering Black residents into concern and action. While industry insisted the earthquakes were not related to the fracking, many in the community believed otherwise. “In 2015 there were quite a few earthquakes, they were shocking to us,” Ferguson added.

Slowly and for quite some time, the North Dallas Gazette seems like an exception to the rule. If has introduced environmental content to its readership, which began to resonate with readers in recent years. One of those issues is the intersection of environmental justice and gentrification. “West Dallas has been revitalized a great deal, but it came about from the federal government requiring them to clean up the lead. It was primarily an African American neighborhood, but you’re starting to see gentrification.” 

Another Black publication in tune with environmental justice is BLAC Detroit Magazine, whose May cover story, entitled “A Look at Climate Change and Why Black People Will Be Among the Hardest Hit,” brought the issue home for poor communities and communities of color in the Motor City.   

“I wanted to address climate change because the issue has become so politicized, and almost sound bite-y, that people are starting to tune out. Our people, specifically, have so much to deal with economically and socially, and something like the issue of climate change, at first glance, can seem so broad and so far away in comparison to day-to-day issues that it may seem like a non-priority,” Paris Giles, Senior Editor at BLAC Detroit Magazine told ecoWURD. “If you don’t know better, it feels like a high-brow issue. But, actually, scientists and other experts will tell you that it will be poor communities and communities of color that will be hit hardest. It’s already happening, what with deadly heat waves, poisoned water and poor air quality. Our goal at BLAC was to highlight these issues and the people working to make change, and remind the community that climate change is something to care about and talk about.”

Environmental justice is not going away but is growing, and the Black community finds itself in the middle of it. But how are Black news media responding? Neither the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), the trade association representing Black newspapers throughout the nation, or the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) responded to requests from ecoWURD to comment on the importance of environmental issues in Black reporting.  Yet, for years, the Black press have shed light on problems that the rest of society has ignored. Many Black publications, news outlets and media organizations have not touched the issue, while some have reported on it and a few have covered it in depth. In the coming years, the demand for more green reporting will only grow. But will the Black press rise to the occasion?