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Study: While Whites Are Responsible For Most Air Pollution, Latinxs And Blacks Are The Most Negatively Impacted

At this point, it’s common knowledge that people of color are more likely to be exposed to pollution than non-Latinx white folk, but a new study is exposing a different aspect of environmental racism.  

According to research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) this month, Black and Latinx people disproportionately breathe the air that is largely polluted by non-Hispanic white people. In simpler terms, white folk are most responsible for adding harmful toxins in our air and people of color, in addition to our planet, are disproportionately paying the price.

The study, led by engineering professor Jason Hill at the University of Minnesota, looked beyond where communities of color live, which tend to be industrialized areas that have high volumes of pollution, and examined consumer demand for products that cause pollution and the quality of air the different racial groups inhale.

Researchers found that white people more often consume products that pollute the air, but Black and Latinx folk are more likely to breathe in the toxins. The study, using data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that Latinxs fared off the worse. In fact, according to the analysis, Latinxs inhale 63 percent more air pollution than they cause, while Blacks breathe in 56 percent more air contamination than they are responsible for. In contrast, white people draw in 17 percent less air pollution than they cause.

Anjum Hajat, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington who was not involved in the study, called the inequity unfair.

“If you’re contributing less to the problem, why do you have to suffer more from it,” he told NPR.

Christopher Tessum, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington who participated in the six-year study, told the news outlet that this gap in consumption wasn’t driven by a difference in the goods and services white people and people of color consume but rather by the amount each group utilizes these products and services.

With higher consumption of polluted air, people of color also face increased risk of environment-related health consequences, like cardiovascular problems, respiratory illness, diabetes and even birth defects.

The authors say more research is needed to fully understand the differences and the ways in which to tackle the disparities, from making economic activity and consumption less polluting to rethinking how we build our cities and transportation.

(h/t The Root)

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You Can Thank Machismo For Our Dying Planet, Here’s Why

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You Can Thank Machismo For Our Dying Planet, Here’s Why

Machismo isn’t just bad for society — apparently, it’s also hurting our planet.

According to a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, environmentally-friendly practices like recycling and using reusable canvas bags are considered “feminine,” so men aren’t that interested in doing it even if that means ruining our earth.

In their research, which included conducting various experiments, the authors of the study found that people who are green are thought to be more feminine.

One survey asked participants to describe a shopper with masculine, feminine and gender-neutral terms based on their shopping behaviors, like carrying either a plastic bag or a reusable canvas bag. On average, men and women saw consumers who engaged in green shopping practices as more feminine than those who did not.

Even more, the study found that men will intentionally avoid green products and practices if their gender identity is questioned.

“[Men] might be more attuned to this and try to make sure that they are projecting their masculine identity,” Mathew Isaac, one of the study’s authors and an associate professor at the Albers School of Business at Seattle University, told Broadly.

According to his research, men are more likely to adopt green behaviors when they consider them “masculine.”

When branding for green practices refer to it as doing it “like a man” or if logos for green products are visually darker and bolder, they are more inclined to purchase it or get behind it. For example, in one survey, researchers learned that men were more likely to donate to a nonprofit called Wilderness Rangers, which had a howling wolf as its logo, than an organization called Friends of Nature, which had a green and light tan logo.

“These findings identify masculine branding as a managerially-relevant boundary condition and complement prior research in suggesting that perhaps men would be more willing to make environmentally-friendly choices if the feminine association attached to green products and actions was altered,” the researchers write.

While the study could help green brands better market to men, it spotlights an unceasing problem: even as women advance in the workplace, academia and politics, even as gender roles begin to shift at home, even as we have become more financially independent, women are still considered inferior to men, so much so that associating themselves with something feminine, even if it means creating a better future for themselves and their offspring, feels dehumanizing for men.

“That says what’s feminine is bad, is lesser, is second class,” Carrie Preston, associate professor of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at Boston University, told the Washington Post about the study’s results.

She continued: “Although men’s and women’s roles have changed significantly, masculinity hasn’t changed as much.”

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This Mexican Scientist Is Making Eco-Friendly Shopping Bags Through Nopal Juice

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This Mexican Scientist Is Making Eco-Friendly Shopping Bags Through Nopal Juice

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the only Latina fighting for a greener planet. Over in Mexico, Sandra Pascoe created a biodegradable, natural plastic that can make our shopping experiences a lot more eco-friendly. The key: The juice of the nopal cactus.

“The plastic is basically made out of the sugars of nopal juice, the monosaccharides and polysaccharides it contains,” Pascoe, a researcher at the University of the Valley of Atemajac, told EFE.

So far, the Guadalajara, Jalisco-based scientist has used the most popular type of edible nopal, the opuntia ficus-indica and the opuntia megacantha. According to her, the sugars, pectin and organic acids in the juice give it a thick, gummy consistency. This is then mixed with with Glycerol, natural waxes, proteins and colorants, which is dried on a hot plate to produce thin sheets of plastic.

Currently, the plastic can be used to make greener alternatives to shopping bags, cosmetic containers, accessories and toys. However, she is currently studying how much weight the plastic can hold to determine other possible uses for it. She also teamed up with the University of Guadalajara Center for Biological and Agricultural Sciences to test how quickly and in which cases the plastic will decompose.

“We’ve done very simple degradation tests in the laboratory; for example, we’ve put it in water and we’ve seen that it does break down [but] we still have to do a chemical test to see if it really did completely disintegrate. We’ve also done tests in moist compost-like soil and the material also breaks down,” Pascoe said.

In 2014, the process was registered with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI), where Pascoe is now seeking a patent. When the innovation is patented, her process could be commercialized, offering companies a greener alternative to plastic.

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