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  • Writer's pictureYouth Energy Squad

Connecting Climate Change and COVID-19 in Minority Communities


Minority communities across the country are disproportionately affected by climate change. Studies show that low-income communities have higher rates of a wide range of health conditions, are exposed to more environmental hazards, and take longer to recover economically from natural disasters, such as flooding, hurricanes, and wildfires. Minority communities have also contracted COVID-19 at higher rates. We will be looking at the connection between the effects of climate change and the higher rates of COVID-19 in minority and low-income communities.



  • Practice critical thinking Age: Grades 9-12

  • Examine how climate change is affecting minority

communities during COVID-19

Supplies: Internet access Time: 30-40 minutes



Read the following article, and then answer the reflection questions below.



Reflection Questions

  • How do you feel about the heavy presence of polluting industries in low-income communities? Do you feel as though this is on purpose or a coincidence?

  • According to the article, in what ways do the effects of climate change increase the risks of Coronavirus in low-income communities? Consider how health can be influenced by climate change.

  • What other ways do you think climate change affects low-income communities?

  • Air quality directly affects people's health. Many communities of color have higher rates of respiratory illness, for example asthma and COPD, which can increase a person's risk regarding Coronavirus. But in what ways can climate change indirectly increase people’s risks around COVID-19?

  • How might increased flooding affect people’s risk with Coronavirus?

  • How might extreme weather like hurricanes affect risk with Coronavirus?

  • How might extreme heat days (over 95 degrees Fahrenheit) affect risk with Coronavirus?

  • In Michigan, black people make of 41% of the COVID-19 related deaths, despite making up only 14% of the population. In Louisiana that number is up to 60%, despite only one third of the state's population being black. Why do you think this is?


Highlighted Activist:

Rashida Tlaib is the U.S. representative for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, and a prominent activist in Detroit. She has been an advocate for low-income communities in Detroit surrounding industrial effects on air quality and health, water, and other environmental justice related issues. Tlaib is a strong supporter of the Green New Deal, which aims to address climate change and environmental and economic inequality through local and national policy in the U.S.

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