Children born today will bear the brunt of the burden of climate change despite having the least responsibility for causing it. Growing calls to position climate change as a child’s rights crisis stem from clear evidence of the negative impacts high temperaturespoor air quality, and stress associated with living through natural disasters have on the most important developmental years of a person’s life.

Centering child health and well-being in climate policy — specifically through the lens of space, facilities, and the built environment — is a critical piece of building resilient communities and ensuring all children can live healthy and fulfilling lives.

As parents and facilities experts, we urge policymakers, financial institutions, funders and communities to prioritize our youngest children as we address the climate emergency. A new paper published jointly by our organizations, the Low Income Investment Fund and the UC Berkeley Center for Cities and Schools, identifies a set of core policy recommendations to ensure children and the spaces they live and play in are at the forefront of the battle for climate resilience and preparedness.

  • Ensure all existing and planned early care and education facilities are renovated or built with resilient, high-quality, sustainable materials.
  • Invest in small businesses and early care and education providers who need assistance to adopt climate mitigation strategies.
  • Include early care and education facilities in local planning processes to reduce household carbon emissions and improve quality of life for parents and children.
  • Make families a priority in community and economic development strategies by emphasizing reliable child care and climate resilience.
  • Design public programs so that communities with the largest child care gaps and greatest climate risks receive the most support.
  • Analyze the ways racial, geographic and socioeconomic disparities intersect with climate policy.

Read the full article about climate resilient facilities by Angie Garling, Jeff Vincent, Isabelle Donohoe, and Joe Fretwell at EdSource.