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Apr 11, 2022

In the latest episode of America Adapts, Doug Parsons hosts Dr. Michael Mendez, Assistant Professor of Environmental Planning and Policy at the University of California, Irvine. Michael shares his research on how undocumented immigrants are particularly vulnerable to wildfires and climate change; why FEMA doesn’t provide disaster aid to these workers; what is a “worthy disaster victim” and how adaptation planners can incorporate climate equity into their plans. These topics and much more!

Topics covered:

  • Why are undocumented immigrants particularly vulnerable to wildfires and pandemics.
  • FEMA won’t cover undocumented workers. That needs to change!
  • Could climate change be a catalyst for real immigration reform?
  • Who is a “worthy disaster victim.”
  • What is “contextual vulnerability”?
  • Recommendations on how to consider climate justice issues in your adaptation plan (or your updates)
  • How understanding the differential impacts on undocumented immigrants can help improve disaster planning to protect the most vulnerable and stigmatized populations.
  • Managed Retreat and Undocumented workers

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List of Previous Guests on America Adapts

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Links in episode:
New Book: Climate Change from the Streets: How Conflict and Collaboration Strengthen the Environmental Justice Movement, through Yale University Press at:

The (in)visible victims of disaster: Understanding the vulnerability of undocumented Latino/a and indigenous immigrants, through Geoforum.

Behind the Bougainvillea Curtain: Wildfires and Inequality

Archived Episodes Highlighted in this episode:

In episode 96, The Once and Future Republican Party – Conservatism and Climate Change, I’m joined by Bob Inglis, former republican Congressman from South Carolina and now Executive Director of RepublicEN. 

In episode 86, Return of the Climate Jedi, famed climatologist Dr. Michael Mann returns. 

America Adapts was published in the Federal Reserve Newsletter!

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Strategies to Address Climate Change Risk in Low- and Moderate-income Communities - Volume 14, Issue 1

Podcasts in the Classroom
– Discussion guides now available for the latest episode of America Adapts. These guides can be used by educators at all levels. Check them out here!

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Executive Producer Dr. Jesse Keenan
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Doug can be contacted at americaadapts @ g mail . com