Summer Heat & Environmental Justice!

Tuesday, July 4th, and Wednesday, July 5th, were the hottest days since 1979, according to an estimate by the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer, which compiles daily climate data from around the world. Climate change has already begun to disrupt historical weather patterns through changing rainfall, leading to increasing floods, landslides, and intensified droughts worldwide.

The impacts of the climate crisis are disproportionately affecting Black and brown countries, and in the United States, the climate crisis disproportionately impacts communities of color. Extreme heat, one of the ways we feel the climate crisis, is the deadliest impact of climate change, and it disproportionately harms people who live with “heat island effect.” Heat island effect occurs in communities where tree canopy is sparse and impervious surfaces are dominant.

Many Virginian communities deal with the phenomenon of heat island effects. Suburban areas of Virginia with large trees and shaded parks are protected from the relentless summer heat. However, our neighbors closest to highways and major roadways, near industrial zones, and in lower-income areas deal with deadly, extreme heat. These heat waves are expected to happen more frequently and regularly, impacting communities of color the most.

At Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, we recognize that many of the global Black, Brown & Indigenous communities are already experiencing the adverse effects of climate change. We work to help climate-vulnerable communities throughout the Commonwealth create and advocate for community-based sustainable solutions for issues like heat island effects and extreme heat. Learn More About Heat Islands!