IN SWELTERING SOUTHERN U.S., OUTDOOR WORKERS HIT HARD BY GLOBAL WARMING

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3 august 2017

Activists Aim to Turn Sun Belt into Front Line on Climate

In the sweltering Southern states, workers laboring outdoors are wrestling with the personal and political consequences of a worsening environment.

By YAMICHE ALCINDORAUG, New York Times, August 3, 2017

GALVESTON, Tex. — Adolfo Guerra, a landscaper in this port city on the Gulf of Mexico, remembers panicking as his co-worker vomited and convulsed after hours of mowing lawns in stifling heat. Other workers rushed to cover him with ice, and the man recovered.

But, for Mr. Guerra, 24, who spends nine hours a day, six days a week doing yard work the episode was a reminder of the dangers that exist for outdoor workers as the planet warms.

“I think about the climate every day,” Mr. Guerra said, “because every day we work, and every day it feels like it’s getting hotter.”

For many working class people, President Trump’s promise to make America great again conjured images of revived factories and resurgent industries, fueled by coal and other cheap fossil fuels.[....]

But to Robert D. Bullard, a professor at Texas Southern University who some call the “father of environmental justice,” the industrial revival that Mr. Trump has promised could come with some serious downsides for an already warming planet. Professor Bullard is trying to bring that message to working class Americans like Mr. Guerra, and to environmental organizations that have, in his mind, been more focused on struggling animals than poor humans, who have been disproportionately harmed by increasing temperatures, worsening storms and rising sea levels.

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