The Growing Times - Issue 2/Fall 2018

6 | Fall 2018 “C limate change is the greatest threat that we are facing to our human health today.” With these emphatic words, Dr. Natasha DeJarnett, Policy Analyst with theAmerican Public HealthAsso- ciation, began her remarks on a recent panel about climate change. She spoke at the 9th Citizens’ Climate Lobby Annual Conference, which I attended on June 11th in Washington, DC. She detailed the many ways that warm- ing temperatures and associated changes in the climate are affecting us, fromheat stress to more severe floods, droughts, and hurricanes. Her talk came days after the publication of Phillipsborn and Chan’s “Climate Change and Global Child Health” in Pediatrics. They de- scribed how children are uniquely at increased risk to the effects of rising global temperatures. They stated, “globally, children are estimated to bear 88% of the burden of disease due to climate change, with the poorest dispropor- tionately affected.” With children poised to experience more severe impacts of climate change than their elders, I’mgratified to see young people getting involved with these issues; fromprotests, to di- vestment, to lawsuits, to lobbying. The younger generation is stepping up in remarkable ways. Nowhere is student involvement more remark- able than here in Utah. Led by Piper Christian and the LoganHigh School Environmental Club, students through- out Utah were the drivers behind an important climate resolution, HCR07, that passed the Utah Legislature and was signed by Gover- nor Herbert this year. This “Resolution on Environmental and Economic Stewardship” recognizes the impacts of a changing climate on Utah citizens and encourages the use of “sound science” to understand the causes and impacts of climate change. The students’ unwavering commitment and leadership of Representative Becky Ed- wards inspired me. It took them two years, multiple trips to the Legislature, rejec- tion of a hearing by the Senate Natural Resources Committee, then testifying eloquently and respectfully before three committees. The students called every legislator in the state and also linked them with supporting groups and businesses. For instance, the Utah Ski Association, Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, and Rocky Mountain Power all supported the resolution. After being tabled by a 5-5 committee vote in 2017, this year the resolution passed by 51-21 vote in the House and 23-3 in the Senate. (To read more detail of this phenominal story, I refer you to Jack Greene’s article, “High schoolers force Utah to admit that climate change is real.) ( articles/opinion-high-schoolers-forced- Utah-to-admit-climate-change-is-real) On June 12th I joined thirty Utah vol- unteers, including 18 students, in Wash- ington DC to lobby for climate action with our Utah members of Congress. Prior to our lobby day, we heard from experts in the field, including Dr. DeJarnett. She concluded her remarks with the obser- vation, “climate change is the greatest opportunity to impact our human health.” As respected, powerful advocates for children, pediatricians are in a unique position to build on this opportunity. We can act as individuals, making prudent choices to reduce our carbon emissions, and as constituents, exercising our po- litical will. I encourage you to consider joining or supporting the non-partisan Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL). This is a non-partisan grassroots organization that is bringing together Republicans and Democrats in Congress to develop policy solutions that address global warming and climate change. I see my volunteer work with CCL as an extension of my career of care and advocacy for chil- dren. I invite you to consider joining me and the younger generation in this effort!  PEDIATRICIANS JOIN THE YOUNGER GENERATION TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE By David S Folland, MD