27 Jun Business As Usual Is Not An Option: A Discussion on the Parallels Between COVID-19 and Climate Change and Our Approach
Business As Usual Is Not An Option: A Discussion on the Parallels Between COVID-19, Climate Change and Our Approach
COVID-19 and the global climate crisis both perfectly exemplify the immediate necessity for swift, coordinated, and science-based solutions.The reality however, is that under this administration, the United States has quickly fallen to the periphery within the global community. Whether in the form of our withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords or the World Health Organization, our nation has become an active hindrance to promoting cooperation, accountability, and scientific innovation in the global community. . This administration’s unwillingness to effectively address these ever-worsening realities highlight the immense need for individual accountability, initiative, and communal, people-centered solutions now more than ever. Regardless of the Trump administration’s willful ignorance and denial of science, if our government is not yet ready to face the facts and the already devastating impacts of both the pandemic and the climate emergency, we must learn to forge our own path to create a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.
Guided by the promotion of adaptation, resiliency, and collaboration, Companies Vs Climate Change is an organization committed to expanding these key components of our firm to conversations surrounding climate justice, systemic racism, and intersectional climate solutions and innovations. The fact of the matter is that if we are expecting to meet the challenges posed by both COVID-19 and climate change, we must be willing to elevate the voices of those most impacted and center their experiences in the development of climate solutions.
For example, the prevalence of countless underlying medical conditions that make COVID-19 so much more dangerous within the Black and Latino communities are a direct result of long-term intergenerational exposures to countless environmental stressors. Poor air and water quality, proximity to waste sites, freeways, and warehouses, or the continued denial that racism has shaped how our communities function and are planned are all significant burdens that poor communities of color have been subjected to and bear the consequences of.
Undoing the racist policies that have made these health and social disparities possible will require a deep appreciation for collaboration from multiple stakeholders. This looks like industry, community leaders, public health officials, elected officials and constituents all working together to create solutions that empower and elevate those with the situated knowledge to truly understand the breadth of these issues. Sustainability has no arrival point but is the continued effort to ensure that those creating solutions are doing so with people at the center of their work as well as the ability for future generations to meet more than just their most basic needs.
The creation of a sustainable society hinders on our ability to address how we unknowingly maintain oppression through inaction and avoidance. Environmental racism that contributes to the displacement and silencing of communities of color is the key factor that maintains high rates of COVID-19 among marginalized groups. Denial of this fact is no different from the denial of this reality as it pertains to climate change. Extreme weather events fueled by rising sea levels, namely hurricanes, have historically been especially devastating to Black and Latino communities due to a lack of investment in climate-informed infrastructure and emergency preparedness. If these realities remain out of sight and out of mind for the elite, our government can get away with continuing to reap the financial benefits of “business as usual”. The denial and disdain for science in this day and age has been fueled by the Trump administration’s “hoax” rhetoric that essentially allows the economy to remain viable and the fossil fuel industry to continue to line the pockets of politicians married to the industry. If we are expected to adapt to a changing world shaped by the climate emergency and a pandemic with no clear end in sight, we must no longer fall into the trappings of denialism and individualism for the sake of maintaining profit and the status quo.
Adaptation to both climate change and COVID-19 will require that we are in ever pursuit of the truth, propping up science based solutions with consideration of the unique needs and voices of community members. We must approach adaptation with a deep commitment to the global community and, though this administration has made their intentions clear, must resist by striving towards climate resilience and the creation of solutions driven by creating more just social arrangements and climate solutions.