This column originally ran in The 19th’s weekly newsletter. Subscribe here.
In January, The 19th hired our first gender, climate and sustainability reporter — me, actually. Hi, I’m Jessica! Nice to meet you! It’s truly a dream job, but it’s also a little daunting. As family and friends have asked, what does it mean to write at the intersection of gender and climate?
That’s a question that I could spend a lot of time trying to answer. But to put it simply, climate change has the innate ability to worsen every inequity built into our systems, like access to safe housing and affordable health care.
And as a result it’s women, especially women of color, and LGBTQ+ people — those most marginalized in our society — who are disproportionately impacted by worsening disasters like wildfires, hurricanes and heat waves.
Prior to my start at The 19th, my coworkers wrote excellent stories highlighting these vulnerabilities.
Candice Norwood, our breaking news reporter, wrote about the rise of gender-based violence in the wake of hurricanes. Barbara Rodriguez, our politics reporter, wrote about the 2021 heat wave that baked the Pacific Northwest, impacting LGBTQ+ people experiencing another crisis altogether — homelessness.
In my first few months on the job, I’ve focused on the health impacts unique to pregnant people. A growing body of research is connecting climate change to poor pregnancy outcomes.
Just this week we published a story about the annual State of the Air Report, released by the American Lung Association, that highlighted the dangers wildfire smoke and other kinds of air pollution pose to pregnant people. Air pollution, like a lot of environmental contaminants, is disproportionately impacting communities of color.
While these communities are bearing the brunt of the crisis, they are also coming up with solutions. I recently wrote about moms across the country working to bring electric school buses to their districts, for example. Celebrities are helping out too: Actor and activist Jane Fonda recently launched a climate PAC to target politicians who aren’t doing enough to stop fossil fuel emissions in the midterms.
It’s exciting to find my footing in this new beat. But as we shape our coverage of climate at The 19th, I want to hear from you too: What stories do you see at the intersection of gender and climate? How is the climate crisis impacting your pocketbook, your livelihood, your health? What solutions are you a part of or inspired by?
Please let us know by filling out this form or send me an email. We’d love to hear from you.
Gender, climate and sustainability reporter, The 19th