October 2019
Your monthly dose of good news
about climate change.
We celebrate Halloween and the end of Children’s Health Month by mixing some wicked cool climate action tips in a cauldron of climate solutions with our eye-of-newt on the prize: keeping kids healthy in a changing climate. We’re treating you to this goody bag of good climate news to help you face these admittedly spooky times.
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Climate Solutions Make Kids Healthier
We already have the solutions that can slash the carbon pollution that causes climate change AND clean up air pollution to keep our kids healthy and safe at the same time.
It’s not superstition , it’s science! 

This week our newest study unearthed where to build wind and solar energy in the U.S. to curb climate change faster and make people healthier. The Upper Midwest, Great Lakes, and Mid-Atlantic regions are the best places because they are home to dirty fossil fuel plants and/or more people living downwind from them. 

But that’s not all: In many cases, the health and climate benefits are greater than the financial costs of installing wind or solar. 

Sink your fangs into this juicy webpage to learn more. 
Kids And Climate Quick Facts
In celebration of Children’s Health Month, we created fact sheets to highlight how transitioning to clean energy protects children from dangerous pollutants and helps them live healthier lives today while also protecting their future.
Rip into all of our kids and climate fact sheets and our playlist on YouTube for more. 

Dig into what individuals, families, and health professionals can do to protect children from the increasing threat of our changing climate by listening to our Co-director Dr. Aaron Bernstein on the Nation’s Health podcast
Help Kids Fight Climate Anxiety
Talk to kids about climate change

Uncertainty about climate change can take a toll on kids’ mental health, but talking to children about it can help. Dr. Lise Van Susteren, psychologist and long-time friend of Harvard C-CHANGE, spoke with the New York Times about how to talk to kids about climate change . It’s worth a read, and might help if you have anxiety, too. Key tips:

  • Ask kids how they feel about climate change and address their fears directly
  • Don’t minimize their anxiety
  • Discuss the problems, then jump right into the solutions
  • Shine a light on people already working hard on solutions
  • Highlight climate actions you and your family are already doing
  • Brainstorm what else you can do together
  • Lead by example with your personal choices
Climate Change and Kids' Mental Health
In honor of Mental Health Day on October 10, our Co-director Dr. Aaron Bernstein outlined strategies for building resilience in the face of toxic stress in this post in Harvard Health Blog .

Here are the key takeaways:

  • Maintain your involvement in a child’s life. A supportive adult may be the single most important buffer against toxic stress for a child.
  • Build resilience to adversity by promoting healthy risk-taking in a responsible way. For example, encouraging children to step out of their comfort zones and try new activities or meet new people can help build their self-confidence.
  • Show children the value of persistence as you overcome an obstacle in life. When the child in your life struggles with or fails at a task, talk with them about times when you have had a setback. Help them understand that life comes with challenges and that persistence can help overcome them.
Encourage Kids To Take Climate Action
Action is a powerful antidote to anxiety, so don’t just sit there like a zombie ! Encourage the kids in your life to get involved.
Handy list to give kids ideas as green as goblins
Chalkboard says 'climate action' with cute ghost standing nearby
  • Paint your school green: Not literally! Green schools protect student health by teaching kids how to live and lead in a changing climate and by modeling sustainable behaviors to reduce waste and emissions. Does your school have an environmental group on campus? Sign up! If not, start your own!

  • Buy used books: The age-old wisdom "reduce, reuse, recycle" never goes out of style. Help reduce paper waste by buying books (and text books!) used instead of new. The trees (and your wallet) will thank you.

  • Start a meal-prep habit: A little planning can go a long way. Meal prepping can help reduce food waste and give you more control over portion sizes and the ingredients that go into your body. A double win for your health and the planet. 

  • Check your air quality: Visit airnow.gov to find out the air quality near your home or school. When pollution levels are high, stay inside and avoid vigorous outdoor activity to reduce your exposure to harmful pollutants that can cause respiratory issues, increased allergies, and decreased cognitive function. Knowledge is power!

  • Go to a local town hall meeting: Think global, act local! Ask local leaders how your neighborhood can become safer and healthier by making it greener, more walkable, and bike-friendly.
Three things tomb do on social media

  • Share our Instagram with your favorite trick-or-treaters for climate action tips, youth climate heroes, and info on climate and health to help them feel inspired and engaged. Of corpse we'd love for you to follow us too!

  • Retweet our thread highlighting how actions that tackle climate change and reduce carbon pollution can make our children healthier.
For college (and post-college) kids

Undergraduate/graduate award: APHA’s Center for Climate, Health and Equity is offering the Student Champions for Climate Justice award to provide support for creating a campus experience highlighting the connection between climate change, health and equity. Deadline is Nov. 17.

Fellowship for doctors: Apply to our Climate and Human Health Fellowship , offered in collaboration with Beth Israel Hospital and Harvard Chan’s FXB Center of Human Rights. Fellows hold a clinical appointment to while examining policies to build climate-resilient communities and health systems.

Advice for aspiring (and grown-up) journalists: Our Director Gina McCarthy wrote a new column for how to make climate journalism “relevant, personal, and actionable” for 
Nieman Reports: Focus on people and tell stories, talk about solutions and build hope, focus on health and give providers a voice.
Climate Stories To Help You Sleep At Night
Best if read under a blanket with a flashlight.