Social Infrastructure: A Platform to Ensure the Public Sector, Public Services, and Workers are Resilient for Future Crises and Climate Change

Americans face three ongoing interconnected crises: economic inequality, racial inequality, and climate change. The COVID-19 pandemic cast a harsh spotlight on the severely disproportionate impacts of these crises.

December 18, 2020

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COVID-19 also exposed the decades-long disinvestment in our public sector and public services. Social infrastructure—the services required to promote the health and economic, cultural, and social well-being of the community—has too long been neglected and underfunded.It also exposed the decades-long disinvestment in our public sector and public services. Social infrastructure—the services required to promote the health and economic, cultural, and social well-being of the community—has too long been neglected and underfunded.

The BlueGreen Alliance has released a new policy document calling for “social infrastructure” investments in the public sector and public services. The platform released today, titled Social Infrastructure: A Platform to Ensure the Public Sector, Public Services, and Workers are Resilient for Future Crises and Climate Change, calls for a number of policy actions to: fully invest in the public sector to ensure that the nation has the resources needed to help workers and the communities they serve adapt to climate change; modernize federal health and safety protections to address the realities of climate change and ensure policy enforcement; ensure workers’ rights, representation, and training; and rebuild and expand the social safety net.

After decades of neglect, our public sector wasn’t prepared for a pandemic, and it isn’t prepared for climate change. Climate threats—wildfires, hurricanes, heat waves, droughts, and sea-level rise driven by climate change—are already hurting workers and communities across the country and will only worsen if we don’t take decisive action to bolster our public sector and social infrastructure.

Without strong social infrastructure, workers and their communities cannot achieve resilience in the face of crises. Resilience is built by the public sector at the state and local level, but federal resources are needed to properly fund, staff, and train the workers implementing resilience policy. Too often federal policy is reactive, providing workers, resources, or establishing emergency protocols only after a threat has already transpired. Communities and workers must have the proper training and resources to build resilience ahead of time so that when a crisis hits, they have the capacity to withstand, recover, and learn from it.

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