Letter to the Editor: Coronavirus underscoring clean energy needs

Date: May 18, 2020
Author: Eugenia Gibbons

As more and more data are collected on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country, a clear trend is emerging: communities with high levels of pollution and other environmental hazards are at significantly greater risk from the disease and experiencing disproportionately worse impacts from its spread. 

In an issue brief released earlier this week, Attorney General Maura Healey’s office specifically highlighted Lynn as one of the cities in the Commonwealth bearing one of the greatest burdens of COVID-19, and concluded that, “In Massachusetts — ranked fourth nationally in the total number of COVID-19 cases and third in total deaths … These communities have long been among the poorest and most polluted in Massachusetts, with higher than average rates of asthma-related hospitalizations, particularly among children.” 

In these communities, generations of destructive, exploitive, fossil fuel-dependent energy policies have contributed to pervasive pollution, and left them especially exposed in the face of this pandemic. 

The disparate impact of the COVID-19 adds even greater urgency to the critical pursuit of clean, renewable energy sources. Making the shift to renewable energy is imperative to meaningfully lowering greenhouse gas emissions and decreasing the pollutants that are leaving residents of Lynn and other communities in Massachusetts at greater risk from everyday respiratory ailments, pandemics, and the impacts of climate change. In our recovery from this pandemic, we must resolve to pursue innovative, clean energy solutions that ensure a more just, equitable, and sustainable energy system for all of our communities.