Jon Christensen in Bay Nature: Pandemic Park Closures Aren’t Fairly Felt. But There’s Not an Immediate Alternative
Last week, in response to complaints and an outpouring of social media outrage, governor Gavin Newsom announced a “soft closure” of 36 State Parks and beaches in California, 26 of which are located in the Bay Area. Access to parks is not a luxury but a necessity for health, says Jon Christensen, assistant professor at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. “Lack of access to nearby parks has been found in study after study to be linked with negative health outcomes—low birth weight, asthma, diabetes.” These trends, he added, disproportionately impact low-income communities of color. These conditions also put residents at higher risk of suffering the worst effects of COVID-19.