As a doctor, I realize the forces that cause climate change are the same forces that poisoned the lungs of babies in Detroit
I used to be a reluctant environmentalist. Of course, as a scientist, I’ve always believed in the science of climate change – even a casual examination of the evidence shows that humans burning fossil fuels into the Earth’s atmosphere is causing it. But my reluctance wasn’t about science, it’s just that the images of melting glaciers and dying polar bears – while compelling for many people – just didn’t move me. I’m not an outdoorsman. Besides, polar bears, however cute and cuddly they may seem, eat their own young.
As a doctor, I care about people. And the consequences of climate change felt so remote from the daily struggle. Babies are dying, so why should I be worried about faraway glaciers and cannibalistic bears? But after being appointed health director of the City of Detroit, I realized that the forces that cause climate change are the same forces that poisoned the lungs of babies in my city. Today, I’m standing up for the Green New Deal because it’s also a Public Health New Deal.