The Lancet Countdown and the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change declared that the worst impacts of climate change are and will continue to be felt disproportionately by children. Children are uniquely vulnerable to the consequences of climate change, including heat stress, food scarcity, increases in pollution and vector-borne diseases, lost family income, displacement, and the trauma of living through a climate-related disaster. These stressors can result in long-lasting physical and mental health sequelae. Based upon these concerns associated with climate change, the International Society for Children’s Health and the Environment developed a statement about ways in which the Society could take action to reduce its contribution of greenhouse gas emissions.
On September 9, 2019, the ISCHE Council voted and approved steps the Society will take to reduce our greenhouse emissions. In this brief commentary in Environmental Health Perspectives, we reported our Society’s plans in hopes that we may stimulate other scientific societies to take action.
The International Society for Children’s Health and the Environment
Commits to Reduce Its Carbon Footprint to Safeguard Children’s Health
Ruth A. Etzel
Maryann R. Cairns
João Paulo Machado Torres
Howard W. Mielke
José R. Suárez-López
Marya G. Zlatnik
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Children are essential to our future and the continuation of human life. Children around the world are confronted by multiple environmental threats to health, including toxins, air pollution, psychosocial stress, and climate change. Infants and children are often exquisitely vulnerable to these threats; exposures during critical windows of vulnerability have been associated with a wide range of childhood diseases. Early life exposures can also increase the risk of chronic diseases in adulthood.