As a company that is committed to considering our impact on the health of the next seven generations, we are incredibly disturbed by the current administration’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement. There are several scary, negative consequences of this decision, but perhaps the most disturbing consequence will be on human health. From respiratory allergies and asthma, to poor water quality, and mosquito born illnesses like Zika – climate change is having an impact on our health, today (1).
Even more alarming, is that the negative health impacts from climate are affecting the world’s most vulnerable populations. Children and pregnant women. Low-income communities and front-line populations living near oil extraction sites. 88% of the existing global burden of disease due to climate change falls on children; mainly children living in developing countries and populations of low socioeconomic status, worldwide (2). A decision by the most powerful in our country puts the health of vulnerable people at risk.
We at Seventh Generation are committed to reversing negative health impacts from climate change by supporting a low-carbon economy. As a business, we work each day to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels: from bottling our products in recycled material, creating products using plant-based materials over petroleum baed ones, where possible – we are working to find solutions to do our part. But we know that systemic change is the only way to have a real impact on the climate. This is why we are calling on you, as an individual, to join in and do your part.
While the highest level of our government is rescinding support for climate change, we believe there is still a role for local government to play. Fight for 100% clean and renewable energy in your community. Support Climate Parents and the Sierra Club, and tell your mayor that you and your community are ready for 100% clean and renewable energy. Tell them you’re #ReadyFor100.
We have seen that a positive impact on climate has a positive impact on human health. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), for example, has resulted in an estimated 8,200 – 9,900 avoided asthma exacerbations and 13,000-16,000 avoided respiratory illnesses in the Northeast (3). Ask for this kind of progress in your community. Be #ReadyFor100.
(1) American Public Health Association, Center for Disease Control; https://www.apha.org/topics-and-issues/climate-change/health-impacts
(2) Zhang Y, Bi P, Hiller JE. 2007. Climate change and disability-adjusted life years. J Envrion Health 70:32-26. Referenced: https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/ehp299/#r118
(3) Bold Thinkers Driving Real-World Impact: http://www.abtassociates.com/NewsReleases/2017/RGGI-Improves-Health,-Saves-Lives,-and-Generates-$.aspx