Global Warming & Distressed Communities: The Sierra Club Makes the Connection

Writing and Reporting by Jake Brown 


Many in the political sphere argue that global warming is the most pressing threat of our time and for the future, predicting that our children will be battling a two-front challenge both environmental and economic in the years to come.

Unfortunately, some of those predictions may be coming true earlier than originally feared, between ice caps melting and temperatures rising around the globe, economic challenges are beginning to come up as well for those families least equipped financially to deal with them.  Shining a comprehensive spotlight on this unique stress on already-distressed communities, SIERRA , the National Magazine of the Sierra Club, this past month argued that the “global heat waves point to intensifying global climate crisis.” 


Needing only point to this past summer, the hottest on record ever, SIERRA connected the cause and effect between the two, reporting that “the environmental problem can become an even more pressing economic issue…In some low-income communities, records show households have spent over 50 percent of their annual income on energy. According to the South Alabama Electric Cooperative, running air conditioning during summer’s peak heat can account for over half the household’s total energy bill.  


Pointing to LIHEAP as one available relief whose demand continues to grow exponentially, SIERRA quoted Joe Daniel, senior energy analyst at University of Southern California, the academic supported the conclusion many energy experts have been trying to highlight for years now as a problem only getting worse that “many people, particularly those that live below the federal poverty line, already struggle to pay energy bills, and many can’t afford to pay them, particularly in the summer when bills are highest. Electricity can get turned off. When that happens, you’re exposed to the full effect of a heat wave, which can have deadly consequences for vulnerable populations.”