June 2, 2016
By Maria Castaneda, Secretary Treasurer of 1199SEIU
As healthcare workers, we care for patients who suffer from the effects of pollution and who are victims of superstorms which are becoming more extreme because of climate change. We also live and raise our children in communities, from the Rockaways to the Finger Lakes, that are impacted by the harmful effects of dirty fuels.
Asthma, respiratory illness and severe allergies are all aggravated by pollution. Viruses like West Nile are already in our state and Zika is a serious threat, spreading more broadly and rapidly because of increasing temperatures. Companies that store oil and fracked gas are endangering our water supply. Many impacted communities are low-income and predominately people of color, so racial, economic and environmental justice are deeply interconnected. Although dirty fuel corporations try to undermine the truth, it is a hard fact that pollution and climate change are immediate threats to our patients, families, communities and our planet overall. That’s why we passionately support the New York State Climate & Community Protection Act, which will create thousands of green jobs, speed our transition to clean energy, and promote clean air for our communities.
Together, we can make New York a world leader in creating a healthy, just and sustainable future.
–Maria Castaneda is Secretary Treasurer of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. This is the largest healthcare union in New York and the nation.