May is a great time for al fresco dining, climate action, and sneezing. This month we take a look at how, collectively, we’re blazing ahead with research and policy that will make the planet—and ourselves—healthier. 

Every morning my 11-year old sips his grape-flavored allergy medication like a dapper little man, swirling it around his dosing cup as if it were a fine port.
Three people sneezing
If you don’t have a tiny human who considers himself a connoisseur of allergy meds, it may be hard to find any upside to the stinging eyes and runny noses. Our Director Dr. Aaron Bernstein explains why pollen seems to be getting worse (27:47), and what it means for allergies now and in the future. 

And check out our guide to understand why climate change matters to children with allergies and learn steps to keep kids healthy in a changing climate.
And the one that doesn't happen after that.
Superheroes in a forest
Two viruses per year jump from animals to humans—and to stop the next pandemic before it starts we need to invest in solutions that prevent these “spillover” events. That’s why we’ve joined Harvard Global Health Institute to launch the Preventing Pandemics at the Source Scientific Task Force

Solutions like preventing deforestation and regulating wildlife are effective and only 2% of the cost of what we're paying to manage COVID-19. As world leaders convene this year to address pandemic risk, the task force's findings can help inform how to advance investment and drive action to avert the next pandemic.
A rapid-fire rundown for your coffee-sipping pleasure.
Collage of eco-friendly images
Energy: The Administration announced a new push to cut emissions from federal buildings and homes. The initiative will develop performance standards for federal facilities and new Energy Star standards for heat pumps, which suck the heat from cold air to warm your home. It’s not sorcery, it’s science!

Land & water: The Administration released its blueprint for conserving 30% of America’s land and waters by 2030, which will protect biodiversity, health, and our prospects for continued life on Earth. 62% of voters support the plan because duh. 
Assessment & Strategy
Charts and graphs
An executive order set wheels in motion for all government agencies to identify and lessen the financial risks stemming from climate change. 

EPA is helping us identify how climate change is impacting our own lives through its comprehensive report on climate indicators, which it updated for the first time since 2016.

The U.S. Army is developing a climate strategy and action plan to combat climate change because it recognizes it as a “serious threat to U.S. national security interests and defense objectives.” 
International Cooperation
Heart-shaped countries on a globe
EPA introduced a rule to limit hydrofluorocarbonschemicals we use for cooling—bringing us into alignment with the Kigali amendment ($). The rule will nix the equivalent of 3-years’ worth of emissions from our power sector and reduce harm to our environment and health to the tune of $283.9 billion by mid-century. Sing it!

The U.S. joined the G7 countries in a joint agreement to stop financing international coal projects by the end of 2021. Why yes, we did publish a study that shows where the world should replace fossil fuels with renewable energy for the greatest health benefits. Thanks for asking.
Bonus Feel-Good Feature
The White House's wicked smaht climate optimist gives us reason to be hopeful. Gina McCarthy—our former director, Boston native, and White House National Climate Advisor—spoke with Axios about why she’s optimistic about our future.
Things that roll
A.K.A. my monthly gratitude journal.

No-spill drill: The interior department withdrew a rule proposed by the Trump administration that would have nixed oil operators’ requirement to show that they could quickly contain an oil spill in the Arctic. 

For the birds: The Trump administration weakened the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by not holding people or companies accountable for accidental bird deaths. The Biden administration moved to both reinstate and strengthen ($) protections, thereby killing two birds with one … oh wait.

Value of health: The Biden Administration moved to repeal the cost-benefit rule ($), which was issued by the Trump administration and made it harder for EPA to protect health by limiting air pollution.

Don’t forget to head on over to the rollback tracker ($), which tallies the government’s environmental actions.
Thumbs up to CA, WA, IL
California issued a public health rule for people who live near warehouses and who also like to breathe. New regulations will require warehouses to cut emissions or fund air quality improvements to reduce truck pollution and protect the communities that surround them.

Washington State signed a new law to regulate carbon with a comprehensive cap and trade system. Refineries, manufacturers, and power companies will buy and sell carbon credits, which will become more expensive over time—a powerful incentive to emit less of it. Learn more about carbon pricing from Yale’s Pricing Nature podcast. 

Illinois interstate highways will install signs directing drivers to charging stations, which is part of the state’s goal of putting 750k EVs on the road by 2030. 
Kinda hard to hear over the Brood X cicadas, so I’ll type loudly.
Bubbling beakers
The energy sector can achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, and can do it cost-effectively via a "narrow but achievable" pathway.

If we cut methane emissions in half by 2030, we can prevent a half-degree of warming by 2050, 260k premature deaths, 775k asthma hospitalizations, and 25m tons of crop losses annually.

“Wind, solar, and other non-fuel combusting renewable energy are the healthiest energy sources available for generating electricity, powering our factories, and heating our homes,” according to our researcher Jonathan Buonocore's new study

Tree farts increase emissions in ghost forests, zombie fires are a thing, and we can sail around the world on solar power. What a time to be alive!
Take some 5-minute mini-classes (aw, they’re so cute!) in the technologies helping us meet our sustainability goals: renewable energy, transportation, carbon capture, and hydrogen, from Axios. 

Visualize the impact of different climate solutions in real-time using the En-ROADS Climate Solutions Simulator—a user-friendly climate model developed by Climate Interactive and MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative. Next free online training session is June 24.

Envision sustainable cities of the future: Browse Grist’s special series that reimagines what green, equitable, and resilient communities could look like.