An emerging environmental/minority climate coalition?

In the Nation, Mark Hertsgaard outlines the possibility of an emerging majority coalition composed of minority and environmental voters:


"Just as Latinos overwhelmingly supported Obama over Romney, they also—along with African-Americans, Asian-Americans and youth of all races—demonstrate the highest levels of support for action against climate change and air pollution, according to extensive polling data. 

In one sense, this should come as no surprise. Minorities are more likely to live in areas burdened by extreme pollution, and young people are the ones fated to spend the rest of their lives coping with worsening climate change. Of the 6 million people living within three miles of America’s coal-fired power plants, 39 percent are minorities, according to a report by the NAACP, “Coal Blooded: Putting Profits Before People.” 

Nevertheless, the notion that Latinos, blacks and Asian-Americans are the nation’s most fervent greens contradicts the stereotype of environmentalists as white, upper-middle-class Prius drivers."

It's true that minority voters were crucial in derailing a multi-million dollar attempt by fossil fuel interests to overturn California's AB 32 in 2010, and it's true that minority voters are much greener than the cliche allows — in California!

Still, to snark at Bill McKibben for concentrating on college audiences in his divestment campaign — questionable. After all, college students were the first to support a divestiture from South Africa campaign in the l980's, despite the fact they were more white than other possible constituencies. 

But Hertsgaard's central point remains, and you can see it  in Sierra magazine, which these days is aggressively young and color-blind. Smart! 

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