BREAK THE CYCLE OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Promoting Environmental Justice for Children’s Health:
Break the Cycle of Climate Change by Cultivating Future Leaders
We seek to protect vulnerable children from the health effects of climate change on by inviting and inspiring university students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) as well as from Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU’s) to explore solutions that specifically benefit poor and minority children, at the same time as cultivating our future leaders.
Health is a dynamic interaction between an individual and the environment.
Children are uniquely vulnerable to their environment:
• Children bear the brunt of adverse environmental factors, they have immature metabolic processes with growing and developing organ systems, therefore the impact on their health, growth and development is greater, with far reaching implications on their health as adults.
• Children from poor communities and communities of color are the most vulnerable because of cumulative impact of social, economic, physical, chemical, and psychological factors.
Climate change has a significant direct and indirect impact on human health. Children are a uniquely vulnerable group at all stages in their development – prenatal through adolescence.
Impact of Climate Change on Children:
Infants and children are exquisitely vulnerable to heat stress with risks of dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and renal disease, increase in asthma, and more vulnerable to weather disasters, such as droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, and floods.
Model for Reducing Climate Change and Protecting Children:
Conceptually Climate Change can be viewed as a self-perpetuating cycle that needs to be broken in order to restore planetary as well as human health especially for children (see cycle diagram).
The idea is to base a program on the model of Break the Cycle of Children’s Environmental Health Disparities, which has a 16-year track record of engaging university students from a variety of different disciplines to develop projects that will Break the Cycle.
This model can be readily adapted to addressing the impact of climate change on children’s health through a program called Break the Cycle of Climate Change for Vulnerable Children (BCCC).
Break the Cycle of Climate Change for Vulnerable Children Partners (BCCC):
• Break the Cycle Health Disparities, Inc. (BCHD) is a non-profit dedicated to reducing health disparities. BCHD partners with the Southeast Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit at Emory University (PEHSU) to support the annual Break the Cycle of Children’s Environmental Health Disparities Program. http://www.pediatrics.emory.edu/centers/pehsu/index.html
•Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN), a non-profit with almost 30 years of experience addressing the unique threats to children’s health from environmental exposures, working in domestic and global arenas in translation of peer-reviewed science, producing programs, educational and outreach materials. https://cehn.org
Project Plan for BCCC:
Inspire diverse university faculty and students from HBCU’s and TBCU’s to develop projects that will Break the Cycle of Climate Change for Vulnerable Children, mentor the students to complete the project, present their papers at an international conference, and write manuscripts on the projects for publication, and guide their future careers.
Goals of BCCC:
Enlighten, inspire, and empower university students with bright searching minds to develop creative strategies to protect vulnerable children from the potentially devastating effects of climate change.
Develop strategies to eliminate the imminent threats of climate change.
Cultivate the students to be future leaders and stewards of our planet’s health and protectors of children’s health from adverse climate related threats.
Towards building a healthy, sustainable future.