The circle game: Covid-19, climate and change


Our sick Earth. (Image: Sarah Grice via Flickr)

The Covid-19 pandemic has called on each of us to respond in ways most of us never anticipated. Likewise, there will be little about our gradual return to our daily lives that will feel normal to us. They shouldn’t either, as medical experts warn that a return to normalcy puts us all at risk.

We know that about Covid-19.

But do we hear this in the frequent warnings about climate change? Do we understand that a return to our normal methods of burning fossil fuels also puts us all at risk? As we contemplate our post-pandemic future, I hope we will show foresight and courage to act in the face of these warnings to counter the dire consequences of climate change. To do this, we will need to weave into our public and personal actions a Page One awareness of the harm we will all suffer if, after our retirement from Covid-19, we revert to our previous consumption of fossil-fueled energy.

Just as getting back to normal isn’t an option with Covid-19, neither can it be an option with climate change.

With virus-like efficiency, the Earth’s temperature rises as the byproducts of fossil fuel combustion invade and threaten human existence in progressive ways. Covid-19 highlights our racial and class inequalities among those most affected by this virus, as these people are also the most vulnerable to the adverse and disruptive effects of climate change. Science shows us how exposure to tiny particles of air pollutants increases the incidence of asthma and other respiratory illnesses, and we’ve seen how these illnesses have left the most economically distressed and those in need. color more prone to disease and death from Covid-19.

As this circle of Covid-19 and climate change turns, our need intensifies to insist that our city’s post-Covid-19 transition protect the most vulnerable among us as we rapidly accelerate our abandonment of fossil fuels.

Yes, unemployment is at record levels. Yes, the pandemic has reduced the economic resources of our city. Yes, to the many valid excuses that will be offered to tell us why now is not the time to act decisively and just to create this lasting normalcy for our city.

Yet if we don’t act now, the tipping point of climate change will befall us like this pandemic has. Some will then wonder why, if we knew about these dangers, did we not take action to prevent their destructivenesblink-bottom-of-article-panel">


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