At no point in recent history have the destructive consequences of racism been more apparent than today. We see it in the lives and livelihoods lost from Hurricane Laura. In the recurring stories of Black Americans dying at the hands of law enforcement, and in statistics showing that Black Americans are at least twice as likely to die from COVID-19. These events call upon us all to build a more just society. The city’s plan for redesigning Melnea Cass Boulevard, as reported by the Globe, must take Boston in this direction. The road was built on the rubble of homes occupied by people of color, and knocking down trees would double down on this racist legacy. Tree loss would worsen air quality and increase heat in one of the hottest spots in the city, damaging the health of the predominantly Black and Latinx community around Melnea Cass. A different legacy can be built: Plant more trees and let them fully grow.
Dr. Aaron Bernstein
The writer is interim director of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE) and a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital.