Coronavirus transmission rates may be down in New York City, but in the Bronx, my community is still facing the effects of three pandemics: COVID-19, white supremacy, and climate injustice. My Black and Latinx neighbors are at least three times more likely to die than white New Yorkers, and those deaths are directly correlated to underlying diseases that are a byproduct of climate injustice: lung disease, asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. Black and brown people also make up the majority of underpaid essential workers who literally cannot afford to stay at home.
The term “sacrifice zones” — communities that have been permanently impaired by environmental damage or economic disinvestment — takes on an even darker meaning during the pandemic. These are communities where air pollution, waste, and food deserts (along with food swamps) are common. They are on the frontlines of both climate change and the pandemic. And the connector is racism.
COVID-19 has laid bare the human costs of racial and environmental injustice. Regardless of wealth, communities of color, and especially Black communities, are more exposed to air pollution than white communities — which creates ... Read more