Further Reading and Current Sustainability News

This Google Doc provides a set of resources on the Coronavirus pandemic and
environmental issues. If you have an article, video, or other web resources to share, please email malik@xavier.edu 

Resources on Coronavirus and Environmental Issues Google Doc


“I Can’t Breathe”: “There is No Climate Justice Without Racial Justice”

Professor Anne McCarty

Eric Garner was not the first or last Black man to cry out "I Can't Breathe" before being murdered
at the hands of police. "I Can't Breathe" has since become a rallying cry for Black people's literal
right to live and breathe. As Reverend Lennox Yearwood, activist and founder of the Hip Hop
Caucus, has proclaimed, “The climate crisis is another knee on our necks.” Can we really
exclude the Climate Crisis when asked in what ways racism and poverty impede upon Black
people's ability to live and breathe? As with many of the social issues and crises of our time,
Black and brown bodies pay the highest price for problems they did little to create.

Consider these recent U.S. climate and health crises: Flint, Michigan; Hurricane Katrina; air
pollution and asthma infant mortality; gun violence; and COVID 19. Systemic oppression and the
resulting poverty are at the heart of these crises and the fight for environmental justice. Minorities
are at the center of the crosshairs of these crises, which are different manifestations of
environmental racism that have deadly consequences for Black communities. Like George Floyd,
Garner suffered from asthma before being suffocated to death by police. African Americans are
three times more likely than whites to die from asthma. According to the Brookings Institution,
the corona virus is killing Black Americans at significantly higher rates than any other racial
group. Black individuals who attempt to enjoy the outdoors and get some air—by simply birdwatching (Christian Cooper), jogging (Ahmaud Arbery), or walking home (Elijah McClain)—are
policed and murdered by both white citizens and law enforcement.

Existential threats are nothing new for Black communities, and their concerns, resilience, wisdom
and strength are central to the fight for environmental health. Reverend Yearwood continues:
“When you do this work, I encourage you to look at the climate crisis and racism through the
same lens, for it truly is the same problem. Seek out people of color, especially young people,
who are leading in the climate movement, and follow them.”

One of these young people, Alexandria Villaseñor, the 15-year-old climate activist who is cofounder of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike and founder of Earth Uprising, states: “I think that true
solidarity is giving Black Lives Matter organizers platforms, donations, and putting our bodies
out there on the streets with them,” she said. “We know that there is no climate justice without
racial justice. The exploitation of Black people is the greatest extractive system of production of
all time and in order to heal the planet, we must have Black and Indigenous liberation.”’

Please check out the Hip Hop Caucus website for informative podcasts by Black leaders,
inspirational music album call HOME: Healing Our Mother Earth, a powerful collection of
R&B, rap, and hip-hop music, as well as an upcoming film titled Ain’t Your Mama’s Heatwave.

What do all these voices urge each one of us to do this year? To vote and ensure that voting rights
are available to all citizens. See the links below to get inspired and involved.






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