Systemic inequities and racism contribute to compoundingly disparate impacts of climate-fueled disasters. Racist policy decisions to underinvest in communities of color leave them especially vulnerable to extreme and climate-fueled weather disasters. “I think we need to quit being uncomfortable talking about the intersection of climate change, racism, and disasters,” Sally Ray, from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, told CNN. “The reality is we have long systemic racist problems across our country, and because of these things, when a disaster comes, it’s much more devastating.”
Inequities continue after disasters hit as well, with a new survey of survivors of Colorado’s climate-fueled Marshall Fire revealing 70% of households making under $75,000 per year were still in the first “pre-building permit” stage of rebuilding, compared to just 38% of those making more than $200,000.
Finally, climate change is destabilizing the federal tax filing process, with potentially dramatic impacts for low-income people and families. While taxes are due tomorrow for most Americans, the IRS has extended due dates for multiple parts of the country that have experienced federally declared “major disasters.” While allowing people affected by disasters extra time to file is helpful, the disruptions mean those who need annual, volunteer-run tax prep clinics the most may be unable to use them. “We have to talk about how climate change is affecting our taxes, our vacations, our homes, our jobs, our kids, our health,” Katharine Hayhoe, chief scientist at the Nature Conservancy, told the Washington Post. “Every aspect of our lives is being affected.” (Pre-disaster: CNN; Post-disaster: Axios; Taxes: Washington Post $)