Skip to main content

Dispatches: What You Need to Know About Climate Injustice

News and notes from Pacific Standard staff and contributors.
Oil storage tanks loom across the street from Tod Park in downtown East Chicago.

Oil storage tanks loom across the street from Tod Park in downtown East Chicago.

In light of our conversation with Sophie Yeo on The Edit, we thought it would be useful to create a rundown of some of our coverage of how climate justice is being sought around the world. Yeo has been covering this beat in the Americas for our New Landscapes series, but Pacific Standard has long looked to shine a light on issues centered on how vulnerable communities often deal with the harshest impacts of climate change and pollution, among other issues related to the environment.

  • Two major talking points in this week's episode of The Edit were Yeo's stories about the Mexican-American Little Village neighborhood in Chicago's fight to combat harmful air pollution and the successful lawsuit brought by 25 Colombian children that accuses their government of violating their human rights by not doing more to mitigate the impacts of climate change in the country.
  • What are the long-term health impacts of inhaling wildfire smoke? A shortage of research means the answer is unclear, but one thing is certain: The number and intensity of wildfires is only increasing, putting children and the elderly at risk.
  • Writers Kevin Stark and Winifred Bird investigated toxic Superfund sites across the country for this in-depth feature about how the Environmental Protection Agency has failed to clean up these dangerous sites or inform the local populations of the risks they face from them—leaving immigrants and minorities in these communities to fend for themselves.
  • This pollution can cause negative impacts beyond just health issues. One study illustrates how breathing emission-laden air can cause underprivileged kids to engage in more delinquent behavior.
  • Back in November, we sent staff writer Kate Wheeling to Fiji to report on the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, or COP 23. We covered the entire event in a series of stories you can find here. In Wheeling's reporting, she spoke extensively with the Fijians at the front lines of climate change. Throughout her time in the country, Wheeling talked about the causes of climate change with farmers, looked at the inventive combination of science and tradition being used for fishermen to adapt to rising seas, and heard harrowing stories from folks who were about to be forced to weather a cyclone in government-issued tents.
  • Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupted this week and is putting vulnerable residents in serious jeopardy.

This dispatch originally appeared in The Lede, the weekly Pacific Standard email newsletter for premium members. The Lede gives premium members greater access to Pacific Standard stories, staff, and contributors in their inbox every week. While helping to support journalism in the public interest, members also receive a print magazine subscription, early access to feature stories, and access to an ad-free version of