July is Climate Change & Children’s Health Month

ecoAmerica and Climate for Health are joining the Children’s Environmental Health Network to put #ChildrenAtTheCenter. In January, CEHN launched a monthly education-to-action series as part of the Children’s Environmental Health Movement.  The origin of the CEH Movement, which also includes the celebration of Children’s Environmental Health Day on the second Thursday in October, is included in A Blueprint for Protecting Children’s Environmental Health: An Urgent Call to Action

 

 


#ChildrenAtTheCenter Goals:

  • Increase awareness and understanding of children’s environmental health among key audiences

  • Mobilize action on children’s environmental health issues

  • Establish/expand the community and network of partners working on children’s environmental health issues


July is Children’s Health and Climate Change Month.  Learn more about children’s unique vulnerabilities to climate change through our blog on CEHN’s website; ecoAmerica’s June Talking Points: Caring for Our Climate and Our Children; and the factsheet and recorded webinar, “Climate Changes Children’s Health,” created by the American Public Health Association, ecoAmerica, Climate for Health, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children are at risk from more frequent and intense storms, the spread of vector-borne illnesses, and extreme temperatures.  Fortunately, by acting now, we have the power to address climate change, and to protect the well-being of our children at the same time. Stay engaged by signing up for the Climate for Health newsletter and join the conversation about protecting children’s health by moving to 100% clean energy.

 

 

Health Leaders Explore Opportunities to Increase Climate Change Mitigation and Advocacy

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On May 15, ecoAmerica and Climate for Health convened more than 50 health leaders for the National Climate and Health Leadership Forum, co-hosted by the American Psychological Association (APA) in Washington, D.C.  APA’s CEO, Dr. Arthur Evans, welcomed the participants and reaffirmed their commitment to addressing the mental health impacts of climate change.  In opening remarks on the State of Climate and Health, ecoAmerica’s Founder and President, Bob Perkowitz, and the American Public Health Association’s Executive Director, Dr. Georges Benjamin, discussed the role of health leadership in addressing climate change. Americans trust doctors and nurses as climate messengers, and are beginning to understand that health improves when we act on climate. Public health and healthcare leaders therefore have a responsibility to advocate for climate solutions while mitigating their own impact.

The first panel of the day featured speakers from the Children’s Environmental Health Network, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Green Latinos who grounded attendees in the overarching focus of health equity.  These ideas were woven throughout the forum discussions. Those who contribute the least to energy-generated pollution often suffer the most from its consequences.  Communities of color, children, the elderly, the sick, and the poor are more vulnerable to climate impacts.  A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that globally, children are estimated to bear 88% of the burden of disease due to climate change. In the work moving forward, it is imperative to seek to achieve health equity through clean energy solutions. 

Representatives from Kaiser Permanente, the American Geophysical Union, and My Green Doctor shared concrete mitigation examples for participants to consider in their own work, and the U.S. Climate and Health Alliance, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, and Trust for America’s Health led participants in a vibrant advocacy discussion.  Finally, all participants engaged in an immersive discussion on the opportunities for collaboration, how we can best function as a coalition, and how to ready our organizations for participation.  Leadership from the American College of Sports Medicine, National Environmental Health Association, Health Care Without Harm, and the American Lung Association provided coalition-building steps they have each experienced and led.  

Discussions revealed several key insights:

  • Climate change is a health emergency and health professionals have an obligation to talk about it as such with patients, peers, and elected officials at all levels.

  • Health professionals are trusted messengers on climate change and are eager to act, but need support.

  • There is a need for one national health agenda on climate change around which health professionals can coalesce.

  • There is a desire to build an inclusive health movement on climate solutions which will require ongoing opportunities for discussion, collaboration, and support.

The forum closed with a call to action from ecoAmerica’s president, Bob Perkowitz, for concrete commitments to work towards 100% clean energy within organizations and health institutions. Climate for Health will support partners as they implement key milestones along their pathways to lead on climate solutions. Read the Forum Summary Report here to learn how.

 

1 Year In: Poll Finds Trump Stirring Climate Attitudes, Action

Most of what Americans heard from the Trump Administration in its first year focused on dismissing climate change as a human-made problem, undermining the legitimacy of news organizations covering the issue, and announcements about regulation rollbacks and exiting the Paris Agreement. Eschewing support for climate solutions, the rhetoric centered on jobs, the economy, reviving the coal industry, and opening up new areas for oil exploration. All of which seem to have impacted American attitudes and actions in dramatic ways.

The January 2018 American Climate Perspectives Survey by ecoAmerica and Lake Research Partners found notable year-over-year changes of key climate attitudes and actions. The survey found significant shifts, both upward and downward, in trust, energy, hope, and action. The largest decrease was a 10-point decline in trust of the President as a source of information on climate change. The largest increases were in climate action.

Below are some highlights of our monthly poll; you can download the full report HERE.

 

 

  • Only 31% of Americans currently trust President Trump on climate, a 10-point drop from the 41% who trusted President Obama in 2016.
  • Rising support for increasing the production of fossil fuels is likely responsible for the 9-point increase (to 25%) in trust for oil companies as a source of the very information they work to disprove.
  • There was a 7-point increase (to 37%) in support for more coal production, and a five-point increase (to 47%) in support for more oil.
  • More than 1 in 3 Americans now believes there is nothing we can do to stop climate change, an 8-point increase from last year.

 

 

Despite the rise in oppositional attitudes, personal action and local, community-based action on climate are on the rise. And there is mounting evidence that more Americans are eager for local solutions and are invigorated to elevate action and advocacy on solutions.

  • 1 in 4 Americans have discussed climate change at their place of worship, a 10-point increase from 2016.
  • More than one-third (36%) of Americans have heard or read about climate change from friends and family (up from 27% in 2016).
  • Some 22% now report they have purchased wind or solar energy for their homes, up from only 13% who reported having done so in 2016.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 Americans now report that their city is taking action to prepare for climate change, up from 1 in 5.

 

 

Please download the January survey here.   For more information, contact Meighen Speiser, ecoAmerica Chief Engagement Officer, at meighen@ecoAmerica.org.

 

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ACLS 2017 Recommendations Report: Taking Up the Health Mantle

It’s here! The Recommendations Report from the 2017 American Climate Leadership Summit, “Taking Up the Mantle,” was published at the close of last year.

On October 25 and 26, our parent organization, ecoAmerica, brought together 300 diverse national leaders from across sectors and society to the National Press Club in Washington, DC. During these two days, we listened to inspiring speakers and discussions and strategized on how to expand and accelerate effective climate action and advocacy in interactive forums, working together to plan paths forward during these critical times. The Summit recognized the inspiring leadership now burgeoning nationwide, and served as a rallying point to amplify that leadership in 2018 and beyond.

This year’s Recommendations Report collects the insights of more than 40 world-class speakers, summarizes the six sessions and strategic planning forums, and lists their top recommendations moving forward — nationally, locally, and with key constituencies.

Healthcare Sector Up Front

The healthcare sector played a large role at the Summit. Dr. Lynn Goldman, Dean of the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University, gave the keynote on Day 2. She focused on the health effects of record-breaking natural disasters linked to climate change.

Reflecting on Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico in September, Dr. Goldman noted, “We still don’t even know the full extent of the public health impact there, including death and injury rates. The health community has to step up. …Climate change is an issue that requires connecting with people on a very personal level, and that isn’t going to happen from Washington…. This is not a partisan issue — this is a health issue.”

Later, a full session focused on exploring the Health Mantle. Moderated by Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, it featured Anabell Castro Thompson, President and CEO of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses; Dr. V. Fan Tait, Chief Medical Officer at the American Academy of Pediatrics; Dr. Jack Ende, President of the American College of Physicians; and Jim Whitehead, CEO of the American College of Sports Medicine. 

A Path Forward

The panel was followed by a strategic forum on Health Leadership on Climate, moderated by Leyla McCurdy, Director of Climate for Health.The forum offered an opportunity to reflect on the health sector’s discussions at this Summit, our progress over the past year, and how we can build on these successes to increase capacity for action and advocacy going forward.

The forum identified the following key opportunities to accelerate health leadership on climate (edited for space):

What is needed to engage and support more health professionals in implementing climate solutions in their places of practice?

1. Create coalitions and partnerships.

2. Promote centrally located clinics and practices.

3. Distribute Green the Workplace Kits for clinics and practices. 

4. Share climate leadership case studies. 

5. Expand and offer financial incentives such as awards programs.

What is needed to activate more health professionals to advocate for climate solutions?

1. Accelerate health association leadership. 

2. Provide climate communication guidance and support. 

3. Expand climate and health education. (For an example, see this blog.)

4. Empower and activate health advocacy cohorts and champions.

5. Catalyze outreach and engagement campaign opportunities. 

6. Establish formal disease diagnosis codes for climate change related diseases.

 

View the Full Report!

You can download and read the complete report here.  It’s meant to be used: We’d love to hear your ideas and what you are working on! Please contact Leyla McCurdy at leyla@ecoamerica.org or Meighen Speiser at meighen@ecoamerica.org.

 

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