When asked about climate change, unfortunately, most Americans are unaware of the local aspects of this global issue. More concerning, however, is that many African Americans are unaware that we are more susceptible to climate change related health issues. For example, climate change is expected to create serious public health issues due to increased numbers of asthma attacks, heat strokes, heart attacks, and more.
President Obama’s “Climate Change Action Plan,” is designed to address the threat of Climate Change. Among other initiatives, as part of the Climate Change Action Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued proposed rules designed to: (a) limit the amount of carbon emissions from power plants 30% by 2030; and (b) reduce the amount of ground-level ozone (O3), also known as “smog.” High levels of air pollution are associated with making asthma symptoms worse. African Americans suffer disproportionately from asthma and other diseases and conditions worsened by carbon pollution. The rates of hospitalizations and deaths due to asthma are both 3 times higher among African Americans than among whites. Black children visited the emergency department for asthma at a rate 260% higher that white children, had a 250% higher hospitalization rate, and had a 500% higher death rate from asthma, than white children.
Although we do not know the release date of the final EPA rules we expect them to be issued soon. Today, July 30th, is the public’s chance to show their support for strong government action on climate change. This “Day of Action” is your chance to voice your opinion on social media (#ActOnClimate) about why climate change action is important to you and why it needs to happen today. Please let your voice be heard….
–Tsahai Crawlle is working towards her degree in Communication from the University of Maryland, College Park. Originally from Jamaica, and an avid writer, she is interested in social issues, women’s rights and black feminism.
 “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units,” 79 Fed. Reg. 34829, (June 18, 2014).
 “National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone,” 79 Fed. Reg. 72234, 75236 (December 17, 2014).
 “Children’s Environmental Health Disparities: Black and African American Children and Asthma,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (viewed 7/30/2015).
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Asthma prevalence, health care use and mortality: United States, 2003-05 and Heron MP, Hoyert DL, Murphy SL, Xu JQ, Kochanek KD, Tejada-Vera B. Deaths: Final Data for 2006. National vital statistics reports; vol 57 no 14. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2009.
 “Asthma and African-Americans,” http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/content.aspx?lvl=3&lvlID=532&ID=6170 (viewed 7/30/2015).
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