Children’s Health & Climate Change: A Moment of Reflection on Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary

By Rebecca Rehr

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics and ecoAmerica took a moment to reflect on our partnership and collaboration to protect children’s health through climate solutions. You can watch the virtual forum here.

Dr. Jerry Paulson opened the webinar with moving remarks: “This is a difficult time. Is this time difficult because of the rapidly moving public health disaster that is the coronavirus pandemic? Is this time difficult because of the somewhat slower moving public health disaster that is climate change? Yes. And yes…This is the 50th Earth Day and we need to mark this time and use it as a springboard to further action to protect the health of children, all human beings, and this planet.” 

Meighen Speiser, ecoAmerica’s Executive Director, offered thought leadership on Climate Leadership Amidst COVID-19 and the importance of prioritizing a healthy recovery from the pandemic while treating each other with kindness. 

Dr. Lori Byron is organizing state action from pediatricians, and provided examples of specific climate actions across the country. Coordination among national AAP and active state chapters has lent credibility and accelerated climate action, improving children’s health and protecting future generations.  

Dr. Rebecca Philipsborn in Georgia provided details from a recent climate change resolution adopted by the AAP chapter there. “Our voice – the voices of pediatricians matter – we have a role here in this discussion. We can bring the conversation back to health, and particularly the health of children, make sure their voices are represented at the table…and now more than ever advocate alongside them.” 

Dr. Lisa Patel tuned into the webinar in between shifts at her hospital near San Francisco to share insights in creating and leading the Climate & Health Task Force as part of the AAP’s California Chapter 1 with the pillars advocacy, education, and collaboration

Watch the virtual forum here, where you can also see our partnership video, “Our Children, Our Future.” 


The American Academy of Pediatrics is a partner of Climate for Health, a coalition of health leaders committed to caring for our climate to care for our health. Founded by ecoAmerica, Climate for Health offers tools, resources, and communications to demonstrate visible climate leadership, inspiring, and empowering health leaders to speak about, act and advocate for climate solutions. Learn more about our partnership and the resources available to you here.   


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