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Geography, Geology and the Environment


Matthew Himley


The COVID-19 pandemic has created or exacerbated concerns relating to unemployment, healthcare, and systemic inequities in the U.S. This comes at the same time as immense threats to human and environmental health posed by climate change. This poster outlines how it is possible and why it is necessary to address these intersecting crises simultaneously through a Green New Deal that implements solutions to the environmental crisis along with a myriad of other crises facing the U.S. Our nation needs a program to eliminate health disparities drawn out by the pandemic as well as to resolve high unemployment levels and remediate the deep inequalities seen in both the healthcare and employment systems. People of color and low-income individuals have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Higher rates of pre-existing health conditions among people of color coupled with COVID-19 have led to greater fatality rates within these groups (Villarosa, 2020). Further, Black and Latinx people as well as lowincome individuals are experiencing some of the worst unemployment rates during the pandemic (Parker et al., 2020). These systemic inequities do not begin and end with COVID-19. Any plan that seeks to move the U.S. out of the pandemic without also addressing underlying inequities will fail to prepare the country for future global crises. It is all the more pertinent to consider the nation’s approach to the pandemic when it is considered in conjunction with climate change. Scientists advise that we must cut global greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and have net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to prevent massive losses in global ecosystems, plant and animal species, and human life (Klein, 2019, pp. 23-24). The Green New Deal presents a way to simultaneously address the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate change crisis. By developing legislation that addresses climate change, creates good quality jobs, provides universal health care, and remedies the systemic inequalities that have compounded the effects of COVID-19, the U.S. can come out of the pandemic having built a more sustainable and equitable world.

The Green New Deal As Covid-19 Relief