John Kerry has graciously offered an interview via email with Jack and Jill Politics. Jack and I told his folks that we wanted to ask you if you had any questions for John Kerry about his new book on saving our environment, This Moment on Earth.

Why would John Kerry want to talk with us? Well…

African-American voters have been loyal to John Kerry. In 2004, 88% of us voted for Kerry in the general election.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts won the Democratic nomination on the strength of his support among African Americans, most notably in Georgia, where blacks made up 47 percent of the Democratic primary vote.

Kerry’s victory there forced his chief rival and future running mate, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, out of the race. Kerry got 61 percent of the black vote and 32 percent of the white vote, while Edwards got 25 percent of the black vote and 68 percent of the white vote. — Cox

Not only do we vote, but we also buy books. African-Americans made Tavis Smiley a New York Times bestseller twice, making history. We like to read. We also care a lot about this issue. At Howard University, they just finished having The State of Environmental Justice in America 2007 Conference a few weeks ago.

John Kerry and Al Gore have brought sexy back to talking about environmental issues, which I applaud. Did you know that Senator Kerry’s book is #1 on both the Washington Post bestseller list and on the NYT bestseller list? And it’s #7 on

John Kerry’s Online Communications Director, Brian Young, has said it might “take longer” to get answers to questions that aren’t about his new initiative. So please — hold questions such as “Why? Why aren’t you president? WHY?” and “When are you going to bring my (daughter, husband, father, cousin) back from Iraq?” Let’s take a moment to focus on an important issue impacting our daily lives.

Katrina showed that climate change will impact the poor, black and the brown first and worst. We tend to get the short end of the stick for a lot of reasons, mostly involving racism, on BANANA NIMBY (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody; Not In My Backyard) community conflicts.

I agree with the Principles of Environmental Justice from the African American Environmentalist Association, especially: “Environmental Justice should provide equal economic opportunities to all sectors of our society while providing equal environmental protection.”

So that informs my questions for John Kerry:

How do environmental issues impact African-Americans inequitably?
How can we ensure that environmental protection is delivered equally in our society?
People say your book is inspirational. Why should I give it to my minister?

Jack Turner has questions too. He asks my first 2 questions more eloquently and writes:

Environmental justice is something the general public rarely hears about, but in N. Orleans after Katrina, we got a glimpse of how unevenly distributed toxic factories and other contaminated industries are. They disproportionately impact poor and minority communities. As America gears up to build new, low-carbon or post-fossil industries, how do we ensure that the burdens (pollution, contamination, etc) are shared as well as the benefits (economic development, jobs, and sustainable living)?

And another…

Today the actions that individuals can take to reduce their environmental impact often require significant education and investment. It’s a luxury for many people to purchase efficient appliances, buy a hybrid car, install solar panels in their homes or shop exclusively locally/organically. How do we remind people that everyone, regardless of financial resources, can make changes to improve the situation? Additionally, how do we make major changes like auto choice, locally-based food shopping and alternative home energy technologies affordable for middle and low income households?

And a comment:

While it is great that the global warming debate in America finally seems to have moved beyond, “is it happening?”, the singular focus on carbon emissions seems to miss a related and equally dramatic reality: the world is at or near its peak supply of oil and hydrocarbons like natural gas and, to a lesser extent, coal. While this might be seen as good news (can’t burn it if we don’t have it!), I fear we may be underestimating the impact of declining supply on our economy and our lives. Hydrocarbons are critical to our food supply (fertilizer and transportation), home heating and American suburban lifestyle. Many alternative energies based on biomass assume a stable supply of oil to be economically viable — if we can no longer grow corn on a massive scale, then the great hope of ethanol fizzles. What do you think about the era of declining oil supply, and how do you propose we factor it in to our planning for a more sustainable future?

This is not a question but a bit of praise. Thank you for including Sustainable South Bronx in your book.

What questions do you have for John Kerry? I will compile them, send them off and post them as soon as we receive answers. Much thanks to Sen. Kerry for spending time talking to us.

Related Posts with Thumbnails