A healthy environment is essential for sustaining all human and natural communities. Humans have had an accelerating impact on the planet – especially since the industrial revolution – including environmental harms such as air pollution, unsafe drinking water, disease spread due to overcrowding, climate change, increasing natural disasters, and biodiversity loss. To mitigate environmental harm, a broad set of actors have sought remedies that range from scientific solutions (e.g., monitoring air pollution to determine root causes of harmful air quality), to those that are social (e.g., protecting natural spaces for recreation), political (e.g., California’s AB 32 legislation to lead the way on climate change), engineering (e.g., engineering electric cars to reduce dependence on fossil fuels), and economic in nature (e.g., requiring the cost of commodities to incorporate future disposal of durable products). five states and the District of Columbia have enacted policies expanding language access to Asian American or NHPI communities.
The energy sector has been a key target of environmental legislation for the past 50 years. While technological advances have reduced the impacts of burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), the energy sector is still a major cause of air pollution. Further, society’s dependence on fossil fuels is the primary driver of climate change. Over the next century, climate change is poised to be the key environmental problem, where climate change leads to extreme weather events (e.g., drought and sporadic deluge) that challenge existing infrastructure, challenges to our agricultural system, hotter temperatures that pose risks to human health, increased exposure to toxic pollutants, and biodiversity losses.