Vice President Kamala Harris was widely mocked online for asking a NASA scientist if it was possible to track trees “by race” for the purpose of “environmental justice.”
The incident came Friday as the vice president was visiting NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
According to a NASA press release, “The urgency of Earth science and climate studies took the spotlight” during the visit.
“I truly believe space activity is climate action. Space activity is education. Space activity is also economic growth. It is also innovation and inspiration. And it is about our security and our strength,” Harris said. “When it comes to our space activity, there is limitless potential.
“So, as we go forth from here, let us continue to seize the opportunity of space,” she added.
But the moment that really caught people’s attention came as she watched a presentation in which the person speaking was discussing “climate adaptation strategy.”
That was when Harris asked a question about race.
“Can you measure trees — part of that data that you are referring to, [and it’s an issue of] EJ, environmental justice — that you can also track by race their averages in terms of the number of trees in the neighborhood where people live?” she asked.
Commentators were quick to call out the vice president over what they saw as an unnecessary question:
— NoPartyT-Unsophisticated (@Twin66) November 6, 2021
"you can track by race, the amount of trees were people live"…
Ok, but what the heck does that have to do with anything? Isn't that largely just a rural versus urban thing? Does she think she should control where people live based on race?
— Cozy Gamer Gimp (@GrumpyCatterman) November 6, 2021
Some replied with humor:
Some people call me a light standard but…
I identify as a black tree.
Kamala, tell NASA I'm ready for my close up. pic.twitter.com/huEIYy4r7P
— Hot Water Frogs (@beyond_reasons) November 7, 2021
And commentator Chad Felix Greene helped decipher what Harris may have been trying to say:
For the confused, the CRT argument here is that urban centers have less trees and are warmer than less urban areas, which the left translates into privilege.
White people have the 'privilege' of more trees, cooler temps and cleaner air.
Environmental Justice. https://t.co/q7LKEs8XR1
— Chad Felix Greene 🇮🇱 (@chadfelixg) November 7, 2021
“For the confused, the CRT argument here is that urban centers have less trees and are warmer than less urban areas, which the left translates into privilege,” he tweeted. “White people have the ‘privilege’ of more trees, cooler temps and cleaner air.
“Wala. Environmental Justice.”