Air pollution and the climate crisis are inherently connected
There are lots of examples of how small amounts of neurotoxic chemicals can do extensive — but subtle — harm. A huge one is air pollution.
- Air pollution can disrupt brain development in utero.
- Certain kinds of air pollution are strongly associated with premature birth and low-birth weight, which in turn are linked to childhood respiratory, GI, and neurologic problems.
- As adults, these kids have a greater chance of both physical and mental health issues and a higher risk of premature death.
The extraction and burning of fossil fuels – the main source of carbon dioxide emissions – causes climate change and is a major source of air pollutants.
Learn how you can take action with us below.
Exposure to chemicals that harm children’s brain development is a health, climate, and justice issue.
People of color are 1.5 times more likely to live in areas with poor air quality than white people. In the US, 72 million people of color live in counties that received a failing grade for ozone and/or particle pollution from the American Lung Association.
Air pollution and climate change are closely related, and cities have jurisdiction to reduce air pollution, creating a win-win for both climate and the neurological health of residents.
A second area where cities have jurisdiction around neurotoxic exposures and climate mitigation is through purchasing decisions. Environmentally preferable purchasing supports toxics elimination, more recycled content, and community GHG goals.
This model helps to build a more circular economy. And, a circular economy is a key strategy to tackle climate change and support a just transition to a low carbon economy. Circularity doesn’t work if toxics are not eliminated from recycling streams.
the 4 actions you can take today
We are working to build a world that we are proud to pass on to our children, where they and their loved ones can thrive. We want to work with you to co-create this future and to see how our work together will grow and expand.
1. Become a Climate Ambassador
Take our self-paced, virtual, free four—hour training to crystalize your understanding of the connection between climate and the neurological health of the people in your communities.
“The Climate for Health Ambassador training will give you confidence to discuss the details of climate change and its impact on health — including neurological health — and evidence-based strategies for communications and local action.
As an Ambassador, you will be part of a national network of peers sharing opportunities, best practices, and replication tools.”
Ben Fulgencio-Turner, MPP, CPH, Climate for Health Director at ecoAmerica
2. Drive Action in Your City
At the municipal level, there are two clear opportunities to score a win-win for climate and neurological health — by reducing air toxics and driving environmentally preferable purchasing
How can my city reduce air toxics...
- With Funding under $50K? Learn about Bright Cities projects in Phoenix AZ + Columbia SC
- With Funding over $50K? Learn from leaders in Indianapolis IN + Louisville KY + Washington DC
How can my city drive environmentally preferable purchasing? Get started like Bright City Duluth MN
3. Join ecoAmerica’s Climate for Health Leadership Circle
You are invited to nominate like-minded local, state, and regional health leaders in the Climate for Health Leadership Circle. Nominate yourself or a colleague to join this community of practice.
4. Meet our Partners
Our Climate Ambassadors training is a project with the “Climate for Health” program at EcoAmerica. Climate for Health is a national network of health leaders committed to protecting the health and well-being of Americans in a changing climate.
Other Helpful resources
Related Resources from our Partners