The Coronavirus is Making it Easier to Talk About Climate Change. Here’s Why.
While news headlines regarding pandemic have all but flooded the media for months, many are noticing the increasingly obvious connections between the virus and the climate crisis. Climate policymaker Rhiana Gunn-Wright helps point out the connections between two of the biggest crises of our day.
What does global warming and the climate crisis—an issue that is not new—have to do with the novel coronavirus outbreak? As it turns out, quite a bit.
A New York Times article explores the connection between two of the biggest crises of our time, with testimonies and examples from climate policy director Rhiana Gunn-Wright.
Like many People of Color (POC) in her neighborhood and similar neighborhoods, Rhiana Gunn-Wright had asthma growing up on the South Side of Chicago. In her neighborhood, pediatric hospitalization rates for asthma were significantly higher than the rate nationwide in the early 2000s. When Rhiana was young, she assumed it was a common “childhood disease” nearly everyone had.
Only when Rhiana got older and began reading research funded by the Environmental Protection Agency did she realize her respiratory problems were linked to the high rates of air pollution in her home neighborhood.
Now the Policy Director at New Consensus, working on government laws and deals related to the environment, Rhiana fights for climate justice as a personal mission, very much related to her own community and family from Chicago.
Rhiana has been working with policymakers for years on various environmental laws, but the recent onset of the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted new conversations about many global topics like employment laws, the economy, protests about racism and even climate change.
COVID and Air Pollution
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