Another horrendous side effect of systemic racism came to surface. Deprivation of greenery.
Greenery is essential for the body and mind to stay healthy. The abundant oxygen from trees is valuable for lungs and greenery also instigates the human mind to produce happy hormones, hence, very important for mental health. The greenery around residencies and walk among nature is often deemed as stress and anxiety busters.
During the ongoing pandemic, the stress for health workers is skyrocketing. An emergency room doctor from Philadelphia, Eugenia South realized the effect of nature that coloured citizens like her are deprived of, in the US. The doctor, who was stressed, realized she needed to calm herself in order to help maximum patients. But she had to walk a long walk before she came across a park with few trees. Is this a coincidence?
Conservation Programs at the Hispanic Access Foundation did extensive research on it and the director the program, Shanna Edbergs says, “The distribution of these nature disparities is not an accident. It was a choice, made over generations, from redlining to choosing to exclude minorities from certain neighborhoods to choosing to put parks in certain neighborhoods, and choosing to pave over communities of colour to build highways and coal plants.”
Trees are exceptionally important to every living thing on the face of the planet.
Cities and urban areas need to have trees all around to hold the soil that might get washed away in heavy rain. It also soaks up water that might otherwise cause floods. It purifies the air and cools down the concrete jungles significantly. A major source of cleaning up polluted air is trees.
Effect of trees on the brain is so effective that even a clinically depressed person will feel better after a walk in nature. 90 minutes walk in the greenery every day can even completely keep away depression. Children growing up in a green environment tend to be more sensitively aware of nature, its problems and how to conserve and protect it. In research done over 55 cities in the US, it was estimated that they avoid $4million every year on health care by simply being in luscious greenery.
Evidence of racism
The pattern clearly shows that black neighborhoods deliberately lack greenery, trees or something as simple as parks. The racial segregation of properties began in the early 20th century. Property owners were adamant about selling houses to white customers. In the 1930s the segregation was legalized and areas, neighborhoods were listed as A, B etc. These areas which had greenery and were classically more beautiful was sold off to white families backed by federal house loans. Whereas, the other areas like D or worse were not backed by loans and often sold to coloured people. This rule basically emerged because coloured people of America were automatically assumed to be poor and not capable of owning houses or paying back loans.
Although in later decades, the segregation laws were struck down, the neighborhood for coloured and white still remained segregated. This led to harmful condition among the people of that community because inhale 20% more of the pollution than the people in rural areas.