Bear the Burden
Historical inequities remain as barriers to climate justice in the Phoenix metropolitan area and elsewhere in Arizona, especially in their impact on what communities bear the burden of the urban heat island effect and other problems brought on by climate change. In her environmental engineering course, Fulton Schools Lecturer Mackenzie Boyer has students analyze air quality levels and temperatures in Phoenix to reveal how racial and economic disparities have made some areas more vulnerable to the rising temperatures caused by a changing climate and other factors. Fulton Schools Associate Professor Wanda Dalla Costa points to Phoenix’s Heat Vulnerability Index and how it shows that Arizona’s Indigenous communities are much more burdened by severe heat than residents in affluent areas. ASU researchers are involved in efforts to find solutions to provide cooling in heat-exposed locales as well as bring attention to the societal disparities at the root of the crisis.