The Environmental Justice Public Advocate at Michigan department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, Regina Strong has stated that the agency is priortising energy efficiency in poor communities in the United States.
She hinted this in Detroit, Michigan over the weekend while briefing journalists during the Virtual Reporting Tour (VRT), organised by Washington Foreign Press Centre (FPC), an arm of the U.S. Department of State in collaboration with Meridian International Center.
Strong revealed that the agency would soon access funds to implement its mandate in the affected communities, stating that the COVID-19 pandemic placed many residents in a disadvantaged position.
In her presentation titled, “Advocating for Environmental Justice”, the environmentalist disclosed that past administrations made several attempts to address environmental justice by setting up task forces and work groups that came up with different recommendations.
The advocate said that the earth would continue to exist but humans might not if the generation fails to address environmental issues, saying that there is a need to critically examine its impact on humans.
She said the essence of creating EGLE was to increase advocacy, both internally and externally on environmental justice, adding that EGLE is a regulatory agency that is guided by laws.
“There are principles of environmental justice called the Jemez principles, and one of the key tenets of that is to let communities speak for themselves and to elevate them to the point where they can do that”.
Strong stated that her biggest challenge is the inability of people to understand the importance of environmental justice especially within the state government, adding that she’s passionate about implementing environmental justice in frontline communities.
She said the biggest environmental threat across the globe is climate change, just as she added that the failure of government and stakeholders to tackle the impact urgently in various communities could lead to severe problems.
According to her, “I will use US as an example because the increasing storms and the things that are happening due to climate change are impacting on communities we already know can’t handle that impact. So, let’s be prepared to respond and move forward with urgency”.
Strong emphasised that Detroit, being a large city with the highest poverty rate in the country is challenged by disinvestment.
Disclaimer: The Post US Prioritising Energy Efficiency In Poor Communities – Strong was first Published by Chika Okekeon leadership.ng.