This Earth Day, Let’s Remember to Prioritize Kids in Climate Change Policy
Olivia Gomez (Former Staff)Health
Since President Biden has taken office, it seems America is finally taking the threat of climate change and the implications it has seriously. Just hours after being inaugurated, Biden issued several executive orders that aim to protect the environment and public health. After four years of an attack on science, it was great to see action being taken. But more work needs to be done – and children need to be a priority in what we do next.
Today, President Biden is hosting a virtual Leaders’ Climate Summit where over 40 nations will be present. It is a wonderful opportunity for America to re-establish itself as a leader in the fight against climate change. Yet the agenda includes not one mention of children. How can we effectively address the issue of climate change without discussing how it will impact the most vulnerable among us?
Unfortunately, it is all too common that children are an afterthought in such discussions. Yet it is their futures that will be threatened by rising global temperatures, destructive natural disasters, and toxic pollution. Children are also impacted differently, and sometimes more harshly, by the negative implications of climate change. Children are not just little adults. Their bodies react differently to toxic environmental exposures because of differences in physiology and behavior. Children drink more water, eat more food, and breathe more air in relation to their body weight than adults. They also exhibit hand-to-mouth behavior frequently and live and play closer to the ground. These differences put them at a much higher risk of being exposed to environmental threats, such as air pollution, water pollution, and toxic substances.
Earth Day is a time for people around the world to reflect on the state of our planet. This year, let’s remember that the stakes are higher than ever before as we begin to see an increase in the consequences of rising global temperatures – raging wildfires, brutal hurricane seasons, toxic pollution, and more. We have an obligation to the world’s children to take action before it’s too late.
Click here to read the letter we wrote to the administration urging them to include children in the Leaders’ Climate Summit.