May newsletter: Rebuilding resilience in a suddenly fragile world

Recent updates on Frontier Group efforts to respond to the coronavirus crisis.

COVID-19 has changed everything in a short span of time. At Frontier Group, we’ve shifted our energy away from longer-term research products for the time being, focusing instead on rapid response analyses that put the global crisis in perspective and explore the implications for our future.

Making sense of the crisis
Since mid-March, Frontier Group staff have been busy sorting, honing, exploring and contextualizing the myriad of questions raised by the pandemic. A few recent highlights from our blog:
The American healthcare system will be forever changed by coronavirus. But how? Elizabeth Ridlington explores the question in a two-part series, reviewing the implications for health insurance and overall health care costs.
How can the razing of a forest half a world away lead to illness and death in an American city? James Horrox explores the link between sick ecosystems and sick people, and how deforestation has created new routes of human exposure to dangerous pathogens.
Bailout proposals for the oil industry didn’t start with COVID-19, writes Adrian Pforzheimer, who reviewed the lavish subsidies provided to fossil fuel facilities by the states – subsidies that undermine our fiscal, physical and environmental health.
The coronavirus crisis has exposed deep vulnerabilities in the American economy, in which our wellbeing depends on complex, unpredictable, and “tightly coupled” systems. Tony Dutzik explains why such an economy is “rigged to blow.”

Supporting the public policy response to COVID-19
Frontier Group experts have been busy providing data and analytical support to groups working to protect public health and safeguard consumers during the COVID-19 crisis. In particular, we have supported efforts by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) to: 

  • Demand a transparent bailout. Analyst R.J. Cross, working in her other role as a tax and budget analyst with U.S. PIRG, was one of the first to call for the Federal Reserve to include an unprecedented level of transparency in its handling of federal bailout dollars – a recommendation that was ultimately adopted.
  • Bolster the medical response. Frontier Group’s work has supported U.S. PIRG as they have developed campaigns to expand coronavirus testing, increase supplies of medical equipment, and improve federal coordination of the distribution of that equipment.
  • Protect consumers. Frontier Group has provided data analysis support to U.S. PIRG’s effort to uncover price gouging on Amazon.

Coming soon…
Frontier Group continues to press forward with longer-term research to support our mission of building a cleaner, healthier, and more democratic America … The next edition of Shining Cities, a ranking of America’s top cities for solar energy, is currently slated for a release in late May … Later this month, Frontier Group will release new research detailing the link between slaughterhouses and water pollution.
Thanks for your interest and support. Please take care.



Susan Rakov

Managing Director, Frontier Group; Senior Vice President, The Public Interest Network

Susan directs Frontier Group, the research and policy development center for The Public Interest Network. Frontier Group’s work informs the public discussion about degradations to the environment and public health, threats to consumer rights and democracy, and the available routes to a better future. Susan lives in Santa Barbara, California; she has two children, a husband, and a dog, and is an amateur singer/songwriter.

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