Guest opinion: Taking action on climate change


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With spring just around the corner, everyone’s eager to ditch those scarves and gloves and soak up some sun. What better way to kick-start spring than with a nice long walk — with an inspirational purpose. March 1 begins the Great March for Climate Action, a 3,000 mile march from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. Hundreds of people are taking on this eight-month life-changing journey in order to resolve the climate crisis. The march seeks to influence our elected leaders and educate the public on the climate crisis, emphasizing that it is not just a future problem but a current crisis that needs our attention now. The goal of the Great March for Climate Action is “to change the heart and mind of the American people, our elected leaders and people across the world to act now to address the climate crisis.”

Locally, Physicians for Social Responsibility recognizes this urgency of the climate crisis and supports the Great March for Climate Action and its advocacy on climate change. The Iowa chapter has a Climate Health Campaign working similarly to expand the understanding and activism climate change as it relates to public health. The Climate Health Campaign is focused on creating a voice for the public health effects in climate-change legislation and aims to engage people in policy development by talking to health-care professionals, educating the public on the health impacts of climate change and encouraging all to contact their representatives to assist in advocacy. Physicians for Social Responsibility believes in the importance of becoming participatory citizens in reforming legislation for climate change, because it is through legislation and policies that we can create the biggest impact. Climate change has known and far-reaching negative impacts on both environmental health and human health. As citizens affected by this issue, we need public policy in place that will promote the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, which will in turn curb the negative public-health impacts of climate change.  

As one of the largest coast-to-coast marches, the Climate March will raise awareness and action on climate change all across America. Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility has plans to follow the march as it enters Iowa in August and be involved as it moves through the Midwest. The march is scheduled to pass through Omaha on Aug. 1, Des Moines on Aug. 11, Iowa City on Aug. 20, and Chicago on Sept. 6. Its website (http://climatemarch.org/ ) provides the route and timeline for the march, a packing list, kickoff itinerary, and climate facts. If you support the cause and wish to join the march or volunteer for the event, simply fill out the application on the website. You can choose to sign up for the whole march or just part of the way. If you want to join the cause but can’t be a part of the march, the Great March for Climate Action is a nonprofit organization that accepts donations. You can also subscribe to the event to stay posted on activism events and share your support at any of the stops along the way.

Julia Sanabria is a UI student in geoscience and sustainability and an intern with Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility.

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