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The Concept of Weather Justice

Authors: Alan Stewart*, University of Georgia
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
Session Type: Poster
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Weather justice is a new concept that is concerned with inequities that exist in the exposure to
severe or routine weather events and with the ways that such disparities are significant in ways
that encompass moral/philosophical, psychological and physical health, economic, and other
considerations. In this poster the author examines weather justice with respect to: 1.
Temperature, 2. Flooding, 3. Motor vehicle crashes (MVC’s), and 4. Occupational exposure to
outside conditions through a synthesis of the research literature. Regarding high temperatures
and heat related health problems, many of the most vulnerable counties in the United States
contained a significantly higher proportion of African American and Latinx residents. (Wilson et
al. 2010). Regarding inundation with floodwater, inland flood risks are higher for
neighborhoods in that included greater proportions of non-Hispanic African Americans,
Hispanics, and subgroups of people from Colombia or Puerto Rico (Montgomery & Chakraborty 2015). Hilton (2006) has observed that during inclement weather (typically rain), African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans experience disproportionately higher risks for weather-related MVC’s (and for MVC fatalities) than people in other ethnic groups.
Finally, Latinx men, and to some extent African American men and women are exposed to
outside conditions (and the weather) as part of their occupations to a greater extent than
people of other racial identifications (Torpey 2017). The synthesis of findings from multiple
research strands thus suggests that people experience uneven – and inequitable – exposure to
weather in ways that pose health risks and economic hardship.

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