Ground Zero for C limate Change
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Ground Zero for C limate Change
Anything having to do with the physical world and developing a deeper understanding of it has always enthralled me. Accordingly, the field of biology, specifically climate c hange biology, is one which is I follow with keen interest . The independent writer Wen Stephenson 's article tackles the issue of climate change biology in a way that I found to be unique. His article " Ground Zero For Climate " discusses the sphere of climate chan ge and environmental conditions but through the lens of racial inequality . It was written out of a need to bring attention to "environmental racism"—the disproportionate burden of pollution on communities of color, especially African-African communities in the South. The article was published in The Nation , which covers political and cultural news, opinion and analysis. As such, one can assume that t he audience to whom this article is aimed at is aware of climate change, its effects and dangers a s well as the need for environmental reform.
T h e article opens with a description of the devastation wreaked on a once bustling small town by pollution. The opening line, " In the br ight sun, the streets at midday on a Friday were ghostly quiet. " serves to highlight the loss of activity, both social and economic, within the town of West Port as business closed down and citizens left to escape the onslaught of s moke from the nearby refineries. Stephenson goes on to describe the systematic and structural placement of toxic waste, incineration facilitie s, petrochemical plants and refi neries and polluting power plants within the vicinity of low income minority town. He also addresses the legislative war against environmental racism and the need for the spread of information regarding climate justice.
The article opened with interviews from persons that had lived in West Port for decades. This is followed by highlight ing the presence of the problem, stating the thesis then giving historical data as well as facts to defend his thesis. In concluding, he amended his thesis. The thes is of the piece was stated and can be found towards the end of the article. "The central mission and purpose of the climate movement is to prevent runaway, civilizati on-destroying global warming—in other words, to create the n ecessary political and economic conditions for a las t-ditch, all-out effort to keep enough fossil fuels in the ground— which is already about racial, economic , social and generational justice."
The placement of the thesis allows the author to provide background regarding environmental justice and racism, cite examples where the phenomenon had taken place such as West Port Arthur and Carver Terrace as well as provide facts and figures from sources to prove the reader with an understanding of the thesis . It also gives him leeway him to expound upon his thesis and broade n its scope to include the present day world as the climate disadvantaged , not just lower class communities as seen in the following quote. " The question now is whether climate justice can be defined broadly enough to encompass everyone—not only our own commun ities, our own children, but everyone, ev erywhere, including generations not yet born—in ord er to keep even the possibility of justice alive on Earth.
The idea of environmental racism is controversial as many persons choose to ignore the link between social issues and race, choosing to explain it away as a coincidence or as a result of a myriad of other plausible factors . However , the writer supported this concept by outlining facts supporting the prevalence of environmental disadvantage that poorer communities of color face , and citing reknown authorites on the issue such as Robert Bullard, the celebrated sociologist and activist , called the father of the environmental justice movement to confirm the existence of a racial link to the issue .
T he use of emotive language and the presence of facts and figures to prove the writer's argument also made the article an impressive one . He used several real life examples, narrative strategies, presented facts, quoted authors and made commanding statements such as likening living in the
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