When asked about his stance on climate change during one of the presidential debates, president-elect Joe Biden stated that “global warming is an existential threat to humanity. We have a moral obligation to deal with it”. Though he and the current president both have radically different perspectives on climate change, it is no doubt that climate change is a serious issue that must be addressed through government policy.
One Florida-based 501(c)3 is raising funds to educate people in their community about climate change to mitigate the effects of these environmental changes, anywhere from teaching kindergarteners about recycling to working with high schoolers to plant trees in their communities.
The Volo Foundation, founded by Thais Lopez Vogel and David S. Vogel in 2014, is a private foundation that funds projects at the intersection of education, health, and the environment.
Thais Lopez Vogel, co-founder, and trustee of VoLo Foundation, spoke to BeLatina about the organization’s efforts, including funded projects that are 70% climate change programs and 30% education and health programs. She also talked about how climate change disproportionately impacts the most marginalized, like communities of color or low-income communities.
To highlight these disparities, Thais spoke about the experiences of low-income people in Florida who, for example, cannot just pack their belongings in a car and drive to a safer place when there is a hurricane. On top of this, many do not have the financial capacity to purchase essential goods when these natural disasters do occur.
It is well-documented that environmental issues impact marginalized communities at much higher rates, and these issues are not outdated.
Take the Flint Water Crisis, for instance, which is still to this day affecting Black communities in Flint, Michigan. Having access to clean water is essential to having good health, and these environmental injustices highlight that ecological issues are also public health concerns.
Though the Volo Foundation’s work stems from addressing climate change in general through science-based means, it also recognizes these racial, economic, and health disparities, making them essential to address in their work.
Climate change has become a heated topic in the United States and globally. In the U.S., stances on different environmental issues could not be more divided. For Thais, we shouldn’t talk about climate change as a “red or blue issue,” but as a “green issue.”
“When a hurricane comes, it doesn’t say ‘well I’m going to go this path because they are republican or this path because they are democrats’…I mean, it hits us all, right? So it shouldn’t be a political issue,” she explained.
Regardless of political association, we should all be actively trying to do our part in combating climate change. From personal lifestyle changes, like recycling or using more sustainable materials, we should also help spread awareness of climate change’s impact on our social circles as best we can.
The Volo Foundation is continuing to work hard to educate communities on how to be the best ambassadors for climate change and fund projects that directly support communities that are the most vulnerable to environmental injustices.
For more information on the incredible work of the Thais Lopez Vogel and Volo Foundation, please head to their website https://volofoundation.org and search @VoLoFoundation across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.