Does A Green Planet Have To Mean No More Prisons?

Street sign underwater
Zain Murdock
November 10, 2021

Chemical spills. Dirty water. Gas explosions. According to Truthout, nearly 600 prisons are less than three miles away from a “Superfund” site – a place that’s so contaminated with pollution, it’s a national hazard. Why does this matter?

The 2021 Glasgow climate conference, COP26, is bringing leaders from around the world to address our urgent climate crisis. But the U.S. brings a huge elephant into this room.

Because of mass policing and incarceration, 2.3 million people are behind bars nationwide. Each imprisoned person equals a 0.481% increase in carbon emissions, according to a recent study – a HUGE increase when you think globally.

From spilling toxic water into poor, Black communities, to methane gas explosions in New York, prisons and jails are a threat to the entire country’s people, animals, and land.

We don’t have to watch this happen. Prisons haven’t been around forever, and we certainly don’t have to keep them around. We can fight for clean water, safe housing, and genuine natural disaster response. We deserve that.

Prison abolition needs to be an important part of COP26 and in climate justice discussions moving forward. It’s not just a dream anymore to imagine a world without prisons – it’s a necessity. Otherwise, we’re ALL in danger!

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