In this episode of Connect the Dots, host Rob Verchick talks about how the climate crisis hurts children – and presents ideas for possible solutions. He's joined by CPR Member Scholar Maxine Burkett, Sierra Club Senior Director of Environmental Justice and Healthy Communities Leslie Fields, mother and NRDC advocate Gina Ramirez, mother and Moms Clean Air Force member Leah Barbor, and Aaron Bernstein, Interim Director of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard University.
If you're a parent, you know the value of a backyard playdate or afternoon outing in the park. Fresh air, a space to run wild and free, open terrain with nothing to knock over or stain. Your kids can explore, and perhaps you can get a moment of respite, as well. Unfortunately, outdoor learning and fun isn’t a reality for many families. These days, in neighborhoods around the country, pollution fogs the air, heat penetrates spaces and surfaces, and a deadly alchemy of the two results in terrible contamination. In some parts of our country, sending the kids outside can be dangerous, even deadly.
Due to the impacts of the climate crisis, children are getting sicker, heavier, and less mobile. They may be forced to stay inside, avoid exercise, or eat poor-quality foods. In more catastrophic instances, they’re losing their childhoods to destructive natural disasters. Either way, the physical and mental consequences of the climate crisis have long-term effects on their futures – and the future of our planet.