The shelves in
Yet, for every family stocking up on their emergency hurricane gear, there is another family without the means to buy food for their families that night -- let alone to save for a rainy day. Many Floridians lack reliable transportation to sit in traffic for hours on end to get them out of the path of the storm. And not everyone can afford to buy a
[READ MORE: Storm prep checklist: Inside the home]
Natural disasters are known as the "great equalizer." But that could not be farther from the truth. Marginalized groups have a direct disadvantage. And non-inclusive hurricane preparedness plans are not helping.
People 65 years or older make up almost 20 percent of
Of course, cities and counties open shelters for families to stay and wait out the storm. But while this is an essential system, approximately 600 people experiencing homelessness were reported on the streets when Hurricane Irma made landfall in
No matter how our neighbors got to
While flooding poses a significant risk to all Floridians, in reality, low-income communities are most at risk.
Storms will become more devastating in the years that follow. It is no longer an option to ignore the impacts of climate change. And it should no longer be an option to ignore those people who are most affected by it.
Low-income households and communities of color suffer the most from the direct impacts of climate change, yet they contribute the least to this problem. The state of
Environmental justice and climate change need to be a part of the conversation when it comes to hurricane preparedness. When communities come together to form one collective voice, political action follows -- we just have to be loud enough. You can find more information at peoplesclimate.org.
We can no longer sit idly by while our neighbors suffer an inordinate burden, storm after storm, especially when those storms are being made worse by our inaction.
We have to leave room in our disaster preparedness kit for cutting carbon pollution and reducing our over-reliance on dirty fossil fuels - we're going to need a bigger kit.
-- Moncrief is executive director of Florida Conservation Voters. This column first appeared in 2017.
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