Urban pests like rats have been in the news due to the US President calling Baltimore “rat and rodent infested.” He isn’t the first American politician to use this kind of rhetoric to demean communities that are predominantly made up of people of color (while ignoring the fact that policies deliberately designed to marginalize communities of color are at the root of the pest problems), he's just the latest.
Dawn Biehler actually knows what she’s talking about when it comes to rodent infestations in cities: the University of Maryland professor wrote the indispensable 2013 book Pests in the City: Flies, Bedbugs, Cockroaches, and Rats, and has just penned an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun newspaper looking at how racial segregation and funding inequities for urban housing and infrastructure contribute to rat infestations.
Biehler joins this episode of the Mongabay Newscast to discuss how this is an environmental justice issue, and how the problem can be dealt with in an environmentally sustainable manner, starting with investment in urban communities.
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