State Should Do More to Protect Children, Other Vulnerable New Mexicans
PRESS RELEASE – From New Mexico Voices For Children
EDITOR’S NOTE: The report referred to in this press release is a must read. Here is a link to the full report, Addressing Climate Change to Improve Children’s Health In New Mexico, is available online at https://www.nmvoices.org/archives/18396.
July 31, 2023
ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Children are especially susceptible to extreme heat, air and water pollution, and other aspects of climate change. That’s the primary finding in a report released today by New Mexico Voices for Children. The report also looks at public policies the state can adopt to help protect the climate from more devastation and to better prepare New Mexicans from extreme weather and climate events, particularly those living in high-risk areas.
“Children’s bodies and immune systems are still developing, they breathe in more air and drink more water per their body weight than adults do, and they also tend to spend more time outdoors,” said Divya Shiv, a NM Voices Research and Policy Analyst and author of the report. “All of these things put them at higher risk for negative impacts from climate change. Children of color and those living in low-income families are especially at risk, because they are more likely to live in areas that are less protected from problems such as air pollution and extreme heat.”
Extreme heat, wildfire, drought and flooding are among the climate change related issues examined in the report. In addition to children, seniors and Native Americans also tend to be more apt to be harmed by climate change as are New Mexicans who live near oil and gas extraction facilities, near other industry and highways.
There is much the state can do to help protect New Mexicans from the ravages of climate change and to limit the greenhouse gases that exacerbate it.
“Policymakers have done so much to prioritize the well-being of New Mexico’s children in recent years– from fighting food insecurity to greatly expanding child care and early education. As New Mexico moves forward and extreme weather events continue to increase, it is also imperative that the state addresses the climate issues that are most impactful on children’s and public health,” said Amber Wallin, executive director of NM Voices.
Among the policy recommendations are putting rules regarding methane leaking, venting and flaring in statute, passing legislation to help communities address climate-health risks, and diversifying the state’s revenue streams away from its over-reliance on the oil and gas industry.
The full report, Addressing Climate Change to Improve Children’s Health In New Mexico, is available online at https://www.nmvoices.org/archives/18396.