Watch the Recording, “Vote Kids: Climate Change and the 2020 Election”

By Shayla Walker and Rebecca Rehr

As we prepare to enter the voting booth this Election Day, partisan politics may dominate the headlines, but there are far more important issues at stake. Top of mind for many will be the climate health emergency, its effect on youth and their health, and striving for an equitable climate future, one that “Center[s] health and health equity in solutions; it means no more sort of externalizing risk, socializing risk, and privatizing profit; it means no longer having health harms of environmental harm being born disproportionately by marginalized populations to the benefit of a few.” – Dr. Aparna Bole

In the latest episode of ecoAmerica’s Let’s Talk Climate webcast, Climate for Health Director, Rebecca Rehr, sat down with youth climate leaders Sophia Kianni, Founder & Executive Director, Climate Cardinals and Diana Fernández, Youth Leader, The National Children’s Campaign as well Dr. Aparna Bole, MD, FAAP, Chair, American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health. Throughout the discussion, the panelists explored the intersections between climate justice and social justice and the importance of voting for youth, communities of color, and other vulnerable populations. Young people have always been on the front lines of change and the climate movement is no different. Youth leading on climate are heading to the polls this election, many for the first time, and are not taking their votes for granted or letting anything stand in their way. Sophia asked listeners, “If your vote didn’t matter, then why are people trying so hard to take it away? And the reason is because your vote really does matter.”

Watch the Recording

The chat concluded with an image each panelist would want people to have in their head when filling out their ballot:

“Any youth voters, anyone who might be voting for the first time in this election, or is new to voting or the political scene; I’d like you to carry the image of the future into the voting booth…” – Diana Fernandez

“This is what I will be thinking about when I vote, I am thinking about a child. I would like to envision a child and no matter what her skin color or where she lives, she is breathing clean air, she is under a clean sky and she is looking towards the future with a sense of hope and security that the world before her is going to be a healthy place where she can access opportunities to thrive equal to anyone else…” – Dr. Aparna Bole

“This is my first general election but when I was voting in the primaries I remembered this image circulating on social media that said vote as if your skin is not white, your parents need medical care, your spouse is an immigrant, your land is on fire, your child is transgender, your house is flooded, your sister is a victim of gun violence, your brother is gay, your water is unsafe because privilege has no place in an election but empathy does.” – Sophia Kianni

Watch the Recording

Resources Mentioned During the Episode

ecoAmerica Voter Registration, Voting, and Getting Out the Vote Resources & Links

Election 2020: Vote Kids resources from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Health Is A Major Motivator for American Climate Action

What Do We Mean By Just Transition?

Let’s Talk Climate: Environmental Racism, Climate Justice, and Health

Climate for Health Children’s Health Month blog series featuring pediatric leadership on climate solutions:

Climate for Health Moving Forward Toolkit

American Climate Leadership Awards 2021

American Climate Perspectives Survey 2020: Climate Is a Voting Issue

Voters Stand With Climate Candidates

Student Climate Strikes Raise Awareness, Understanding, Emotions

Americans May Feel Isolated in Their Climate Concern:

Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance


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