Why Global Citizens Should Care With the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 , the United States federal government tried to erase disparities in energy access between rural and urban areas. Suddenly, hard-to-reach communities were electrified, folded into the broader US economy. But many Native American tribes were left out of this effort . On the Navajo Nation, that exclusion still reverberates today. More than 15,000 homes on the reservation lack electricity, accounting for 75% of the unelectrified homes in the US, according to the American Public Power Association . “There are tribes that don’t have access to the grid because they weren’t in the planning process and weren’t considered,” Wahleah Johns, cofounder of Native Renewables , told Global Citizen. “That’s environmental racism: when planning is only for certain populations and not for First Nations and tribal nations.” She said that the lack of energy impacts every aspect of life for affected families. Without electricity, homes often lack running water, lighting, cooling, heating, and refrigeration. Many families end up buying gasoline, propane, or kerosene for their electrical needs, a last resort that is both costly and exposes them to pollution. Linking up to the grid, meanwhile, is out of the […]


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