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MdEHN - Climate Hero

Posted By Allison Rich, Monday, November 25, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, December 4, 2013

November 24, 2013 

By Allison Rich, 

Children's Environemntal Health Specialist, The Maryland Environmental Health Network

The Maryland Environmental Health Network (MdEHN) received recognition last week as a Climate Hero from the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN). The award ceremony was part of the Baltimore stop on CCAN’s Crossroads Tour. Over 230 people attended the program at MICA, to hear how the plan to export fracked gas out of Cove Point in southern Maryland threatens our environment and health, while renewable energy alternatives protect both and are economically beneficial as well.

Rebecca Ruggles, Director of MdEHN said, "Recognition from CCAN is a high compliment. Climate change is a huge threat to human health and it’s closely related to air pollution which is a major cause of preventable illness and premature death.” Rebecca shared the stage with CCAN founder Mike Tidwell and Lynn Heller of the Abell Foundation, who spoke about her role in leading Baltimore City’s Climate Action Plan work group.

For the past year, MdEHN has worked on a range of energy related issues that impact the health of Marylanders. With our partners, the Chesapeake Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, MdEHN helped insure that health implications of fracking will be well researched as part of Maryland’s Marcellus Shale Commission study process.

Maryland is the first state to research the public health implications of unconventional drilling practices by the natural gas industry, before drilling takes place.

With support from a BGE Green Grant, MdEHN’s November meeting focused on the health implications of energy choices in Maryland and ways health advocates can promote healthy energy policy. Past meeting topics focused on environmental factors that impact air quality and human health. Resources from past Network meetings are available here.

The Maryland Environmental Health Network is a project of ABAG, started with leadership and support from the Jacob & Hilda Blaustein Foundation. Additional funders supporting the Network and its publications are: the Zanvyl & Isabelle Krieger Fund, the Town Creek Foundation, the Abell Foundation and The Keith Campbell Foundation.

At our September meeting in Brooklyn/Curtis Bay, MdEHN helped connect environmental health researchers, state policy-makers, the Filbert Street Garden, and a student led advocacy group called Free Your Voice. As someone who has worked with many student groups, I am so impressed with these young people. They are mounting a campaign to stop the incinerator that would be less than a mile from their school . Check out the video these students made about the impact of industrial pollution on their neighborhood:

MdEHN will publish a report on the relationship between Maryland’s health status and air pollution problems in early 2014. Most air pollution is linked to sources that also produce greenhouse gases, so solutions such as renewable energy development are good for both health and the climate. That’s the good news – a health lens highlights policy solutions that will pay off on multiple levels.

# The Maryland Environmental Health Network convenes diverse stakeholders in the fields of health and environmental advocacy, research, and community activism, to support cross-sector dialogue and action that results in better protection of both human health and the environment. MdEHN is a project of The Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers

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Tags:  Adventures in Philanthropy  environmental health  Maryland Environmental Health Network  Mdehn  November 2013 Members' Memo 

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