As a health professional, I stand with 74 organizations representing doctors, nurses, health systems, public health professionals and patients urging our leaders in government, including Sen. Pat Toomey and Rep. Lloyd Smucker, as well as the business sectors, to immediately take steps to limit climate disruption, build climate resilience and protect health as outlined in the new “U.S. Call to Action on Climate, Health and Equity: A Policy Action Agenda.”

Every day I see the toll that climate change is taking on the health, safety and well-being of patients and others in the community. The impacts are debilitating, from heat illness and worsening respiratory conditions like asthma, to insect-borne disease and declining mental health.

Personally, I have seen the increasing episodes of asthma in children and the elderly, along with more Lyme disease and diseases from mold. Climate change poses a greater threat to vulnerable populations, including pregnant women, infants and children, and the elderly, as well as low-income families and communities of color.

From the effects of worsening heat waves and air pollution to more frequent and intense weather events like wildfires and floods, this already urgent public health emergency will only become worse more quickly without action now.

The health sector can’t tackle it alone. We need politicians to step up with all of us and help preserve the climate for future, as well as present generations. Please call and talk about this critical issue with your neighbors, family and your elected officials now.

Alan Peterson, M.D.

Pequea Township