ECC Participates in White House Summit on Climate & Health
ECC Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs Felipe Floresca was among the climate advocates who joined health professionals and federal, state and local officials in exploring how to lessen the impact of climate change on U.S. communities at the White House’s June 23 Summit on Climate Change and Health. To begin a national dialogue on climate change and health, participants discussed creative and cost-effective solutions for slowing the unavoidable impacts of climate change.
The summit, which was live-steamed from the White House website and broadcast digitally to regional events across the country, included a video statement from President Obama and remarks by White House Senior Advisor Brian Deese, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy and other senior administration officials.
Protecting Vulnerable Groups
Floresca participated in a group discussion on Protecting Vulnerable Populations from the Public Health Impacts of Climate Change – an important topic and one of keen interest to ECC in its work to achieve equity for low-income communities of color, which experience heightened rates of asthma among children and lung disease among senior citizens.
“It was inspirational to hear Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) – a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the first nurse elected to Congress – talk about the importance of supporting EPA’s Clean Power Plan, given that African-American and Latino children contract asthma by living in environmentally toxic inner-city communities,” Floresca observed.
“Being poor and a person of color places you in harm’s way as climate change continues to impact the health of Americans,” Floresca added.
He noted that United Farm Workers of America President Arturo Rodriguez – a member of the summit’s panel on Preventing Health Impacts of Climate Change in American Communities – reminded the summit audience that farmworkers are especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. “The government must be vigilant in protecting their health and well-being,” Floresca said. (See photo of Rodriguez (L) and Floresca.)
At the summit, the White House also announced the launch of Empower an online interactive map developed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to inform community emergency planning and help first responders identify neighborhoods that may need rapid assistance during a hurricane, flood or other natural disaster. Empower is seen as an important tool for grassroots leaders in responding to such extreme weather events.