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Intersection Episode 3: It’s Not Mother Nature Who’s Racist

Eric Gay/Associated Press
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It’s been ten years since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast and claimed the lives of over 1,800 people, most of whom were poor and black. For folks like Derrick Evans, though, it still feels like yesterday. Derrick, an environmental and civil rights organizer, grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi, one of the many coastal towns decimated by the storm. He remembers the fear he felt as he drove down from Boston to Mississippi to find his elderly mother, who did not evacuate and had to be rescued from her flooded home. He remembers the smell of the sewage-strewn streets, a suffocating mix of burning and bloating. “Horrible,” he says to Jamil Smith. “Horrible.”

But this anniversary of Hurricane Katrina isn’t only about remembering.  It’s also about recognizing the institutional weaknesses the storm highlighted, and finding local, state, and federal solutions. In this episode, Jamil talks climate justice with the NAACP’s Jacqui Patterson and CityLab reporter Brentin Mock. How do climate change activism and the civil rights movement intersect? How can one type of advocacy inform the other?

Find out, in this week’s episode of Intersection.

For more on climate justice, check out this week’s reading/listening list.