CDC Foundation Supports Organizations Engaging Young People on Issues of Climate and Health

Organizations will focus on youth-led and youth-centered education and outreach to help communities respond to climate-related health challenges.

ATLANTA—Our changing climate poses an urgent and growing threat to human health. According to the World Health Organization, climate-driven factors like air pollution, disease, extreme weather events and food insecurity are already taking the lives of an estimated 13 million people every year. Young people are keenly aware of the significant implications long-term climate-related health issues have for their future, and they have become important contributors to efforts to find solutions. To support and encourage these young leaders, the CDC Foundation announced $550,000 in funding to 11 organizations across the United States focused on engaging young people in raising awareness about the connections between climate and health and helping their communities respond to environment-related health challenges.

Ongoing health impacts from our changing climate include increases in respiratory and cardiovascular disease, weather-related injuries and deaths, water-borne illness and other infectious diseases. In recent studies, nearly 60 percent of people between the ages of 16–25 cited climate change as a major source of anxiety and concern. Increasingly, young people are demanding action and are bringing their voices, energy and ideas to the fight against climate change. The organizations chosen to receive funding will build on this movement by promoting innovative youth-led and youth-focused outreach that will educate people about the health impacts of climate change and help communities develop climate-based health strategies to address and prevent these issues.

“We must seize every opportunity to come together to find ways to reduce the impacts of our changing climate and protect the health and wellbeing of all communities,” said Judy Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “We are proud to help amplify the voices of young people as they work to find innovative solutions to these critical public health concerns.”

The funding will support organizations that span eight states and include cultural centers, educational institutions, environmental groups and other community organizations. The work of organizations receiving support may include community events, arts outreach, educational trainings and other activities aimed at increasing local capacity, preparedness and resiliency in response to climate-driven health challenges. While the program activities will be community-based, the work could potentially reach across multiple cities, counties and states.

The organizations receiving support are: Action Network, Borderlands Restoration Network, BRAVE Communities, California Indian Museum and Cultural Center, Massachusetts Audubon Society, Native American Community Academy Foundation, Nature Nexus Institute, Project WET Foundation, The Semilla Project, STEM NOLA and Wayne State University Center for Urban Studies.