U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., stopped by Greater Lawrence Family Health Center (GLFHC) on Wed., May 24 to talk with local officials and health care workers about his Green New Deal for Health.
The Green New Deal for Health is legislation that will enable the U.S. health care system to respond to climate change by improving sustainability and supporting patients, providers and communities.
“Frontline communities are suffering the impacts of climate change and the pandemic has stretched our healthcare system to the brink,” Markey said. “Time and time again we ask healthcare heroes to show up while the rest of the world shuts down. Without fail, you all deliver. It’s time for all of us to deliver for you.”
The proposal allocates money to increase the number of community health workers, and contains funds focusing on climate and health education for doctors, nurses and other clinicians. It also makes grant money available to nonprofit health organizations looking to build green and sustainable facilities and programs.
As the planet prepares for rising sea levels, rising temperatures and increasingly worse and frequent extreme weather events, low-income areas and communities of color will be disproportionately impacted, said Guy L. Fish, MD, President & CEO of GLFHC.
“Marginalized communities are always bearing the brunt of the externalities imposed on them because they lack voice, Fish said. “Now we must reframe the environmental issue more broadly as climate justice … literally asking the question, ‘Will this planet be habitable in 20-to-30 years?’ And if it is inhospitable, who do you think will bear the brunt?”
Many of GLFHC’s community partners turned out for the announcement at the health center’s North Clinic and Pharmacy, 150 Park St., Lawrence, to express their support for the New Green Deal for Health. They included Michael Curry, President & CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, City of Lawrence Mayor Brian A. De Peña and many Lawrence City Councilors, as well as representatives from Lawrence General Hospital, Lowell Community Health Center, Lawrence Community Works and Groundwork Lawrence.