The Poor Carry the Greatest Burden

In Laudato Si, Pope Francis talks about how climate change will disproportionately affect the poor:

Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited. 

There is a parallel in the current discussion of the coronavirus pandemic as mentioned in a March 1st article in the New York Times entitled “Avoiding Coronavirus May Be a Luxury Some Workers Can’t Afford”:

Stay home from work if you get sick. See a doctor. Use a separate bathroom from the people you live with. Prepare for schools to close, and to work from home. These are measures the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended to slow a coronavirus outbreak in the United States.

Yet these are much easier to do for certain people — in particular, high-earning professionals. Service industry workers, like those in restaurants, retail, child care and the gig economy, are much less likely to have paid sick days, the ability to work remotely or employer-provided health insurance.

In fact, in the United States, 38% of private sector jobs lack paid sick leave. In service occupations, 54% lack any paid sick leave. And when people lack paid sick leave, they go to work when they are sick and spread disease. Many people in the service industry also have no health insurance. 

There is still much work to be done to ensure that all of God’s children are treated equitably. This is something to ponder and pray about during Lent.

Working together, we can help take care of our common home.

Eat for the Planet talk has been cancelled! Due to the Coronavirus concerns, we have decided to CANCEL our talk originally scheduled for Sunday, March 8th at 7pm. We will reschedule the event at a later date. 

Paul Litwin

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