Child playing

Many people know how it feels to spend a sleepless night at the bedside of a sick child, and the desire to do whatever it takes to make things better.

Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy taps into that motivation when she talks about climate change.

McCarthy: “Climate change is really all about kids’ health.”

For example, coal-burning power plants cause smog, which can trigger asthma attacks. Drought can cause food and water shortages, which can harm kids’ development. And natural disasters can cause both physical and psychological harm.

McCarthy: “It adds trauma to kids’ lives. So there’s all kinds of ways in which climate impacts health.”

But she says that too few conversations about climate change emphasize the here-and-now health benefits that come with climate action.

McCarthy: “Why aren’t we thinking about what my mother would call a two-fer? A double benefit here. That’s what thinking about health can do.”

For example, switching to renewable energy can reduce carbon pollution and make it easier for kids to breathe.

She says focusing on these dual benefits can inspire more people to get involved in climate action.

McCarthy: “We all care about our kids way more than we care about polar bears.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo credit: Olivia Bauso.

Topics: Health