WASHINGTON, DC — Today, health professionals called on Congress to support all aspects of President Joe Biden’s historic American Jobs Plan as a public health issue. The group rallied on the Mall in support of both the Plan and its provision for a 100% clean electricity payment plan.
You can watch a livestream here. High-resolution photos available upon request.
Doctors, nurses, and others working in the health field converged in front of the US Capitol — surrounded by colorful signs and banners — to speak about how climate change is a public health crisis. Speakers included Lois Wessel, FNP, DNP, Professor of nursing and Member of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments; Lise Van Susteren, Psychiatrist, Environmental activist, and Chesapeake Climate Action Network Board Member; Dr. Richard Bruno, a family & preventive medicine physician in Baltimore and a long-time climate and health advocate with Physicians for Social Responsibility; Dr. Jerome A. Paulson, MD, FAAP, pediatrician and climate activist, representing the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health; Savita Potarazu, third-year medical student at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health sciences and current co-chair of Climate Smart Health Care for Medical Students for a Sustainable Future; and Henry Lynett, Physicians for Social Responsibility.
“As nurses we know that climate, economic justice, and public health are inextricably entwined,” said Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments Executive Director Katie Huffling. “At this moment in time, ensuring access to breathable air, clean water, a stable climate, and livable wage jobs has never been more important. Nurses are calling on Congress to make bold and ambitious investments in climate solutions and clean energy to protect health now and for future generations.”
Investing in 100% clean energy by 2035 would dramatically reduce air pollution, improve public health, and advance environmental justice. Researchers estimate that exposure to pollution, especially fine particulate matter, is responsible for more than 100,000 premature deaths each year. A clean energy standard would help avoid more than $1.7 trillion in health and environmental costs, including 93,000 avoided premature deaths, through 2050. In addition, there will be immediate reductions in the risk of cancers, respiratory disease, heart disease and stroke.
The event is part of the “100 Leaders for 100% Clean Energy” summer series of events, organized to demonstrate the broad-based support that exists across the country for the American Jobs Plan and its 100% clean power provision. The event was co-hosted by the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, Medical Students for a Sustainable Future, Physicians for Social Responsibility and CCAN Action Fund. With Congressional leaders intending to vote on the legislation this summer, the time to act is now.
The CCAN Action Fund is the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For almost 20 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.