Solana Beach Climate Emergency Declaration Passed Unanimously! Dr. Plastic Picker’s Small Part
August 27, 2020
I did not realize what a big deal last night’s climate win was. Solana Beach, a small northern coastal city, passed unanimously a Climate Emegency Declaration yesterday. The Solana Beach’s Climate Action Committee lead Dr. Mary Yang had been working on this with the city council members for months and maybe years. They had reached out to us as healthcare professionals to give comment. Yesterday, I called in with as one of four members of our Public Health Advisory Council for Climate Action Campaigns and gave public testiomy as a pediatrician.
The text of my comments are below,
Hello, my name is Dr. Plastic Picker and I am a general pediatrician who cares for 2000 children throughout the San Diego county area. I also work on pediatric asthma in my professional life and am Co-Chair of the San Diego Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics Climate Change and Health Committee. I serve of the Public Health Advisory Committee for Climate Actions Campaign.
I was born and raised in San Diego. I returned to San Diego after many years in Boston to practice and to raise my children back in our hometown. I ask this council to declare a climate emergency because climate change has direct deleterious impacts on children’s health. A warming climate disproportionately effects all children as little bodies are more susceptible to heat stress and air pollution. Climate change and air pollution go hand in hand and is driving the exponential increase in pediatric asthma. Climate change also fundamentally alters the nutritional content and density of our food supply. Those little people that I take care for are more susceptible to heat, air pollution, asthma and poor nutrition. And little people actually become big people, and as adults all of our children will inherit this world however they find it. The time to act regarding climate change is today. As a pediatrician and as a mother of two children myself, I urge Solana Beach to be an example for all of San Diego and declare a climate emergency.
To be honest, initially I was not sure how impactful this resolution would be as it is non-binding. But just like I have to acknowledge that for every piece of plastic that I pick up is an act of advocacy and important. That this is actually a big win and important as well.
This is a summary of my notes from the power point given by Solana Beach’s Climate Action Committee. It was very informative, even for this climate activist. A Climate Emergency Declaration I learned is an action taken by governments or institutions to acknowledge humanity is in a climate emergency. Austalia made the first declaration in December 2016. Over 1,400 local governments in 28 countries have made climate emergency declarations. By declaring a Climate Emergency those governments do the following (1) acknowledge that global warming exists (2) that the measures taken globally are not enough (3) pledges substantive actions , elevates local urgency and awareness and sends a clear message of commitment to the community and the world that the organization/city will combat the climate crisis.
And that is really it. That was my major win yesterday. I am going to send this post to a good friend who is a radiologist in our organization and actually lives in Solana Beach. She wants to start working on environmental issues! I think she should get their specialty department to declare a climate emergency. That would be really cool!
Update: Got quoted in the local paper for these comments “A warming climate disproportionately affects all children, as little bodies are more susceptible to heat, stress and air pollution,” said Vi Nguyen, a general pediatrician, one of several public speakers who supported the resolution.” https://www.delmartimes.net/news/story/2020-08-28/solana-beach-resolution-declares-climate-emergency-need-for-more-action