Earth Day Rally Connects Coronavirus To Climate Change
Emily Hays, New Haven Independent, Apr 23, 2020
Pollution can lead to respiratory illness, which leads to a higher chance of dying from COVID-19. Earth Day turned 50 in New Haven on Wednesday with that connection in mind.
Sunrise New Haven held an Earth Day rally as a livestream to comply with local and state orders to avoid spreading COVID-19. The crisis was on the organizers’ minds; each of the dozen speakers described the parallels between the virus shutting down workplaces throughout the region and the discriminatory effects of climate change.
“I would like to recognize that we are currently living through two crises,” said emcee Adrian Huq.
Huq is a senior at Metropolitan Business Academy and a leader in youth-led New Haven Climate Movement.
Yale graduate union member and East Rock Alder Charles Decker walked the roughly 150 attendees through a series of similar maps of New Haven. The first was a redlining map of neighborhoods where banks restricted homeownership opportunities. He then cycled through neighborhood rates of unemployment and asthma. The last image was of the neighborhoods COVID-19 has hit hardest.
“What you’re seeing is that these maps time and time again look the same,” Decker said.
“The map of areas devastated by climate change is going to look exactly the same unless we act now,” said Hill Alder and New Haven Rising organizer Ron Hurt.
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