Climate Change and Health News

RIDOH Funds Community Schoolyard Greening and Cooling Projects
RIDOH's Environmental Public Health Tracking and Climate Change and Health programs are distributing small grants of $10,000 each to three Health Equity Zones and their partners to complete projects to help cool schoolyards, address inequities in greenspace and shade, build climate resilience, and educate students and teachers on the importance of trees, shade, and clean air for health.

The effects of extreme heat are not felt evenly across all neighborhoods. Schools located in areas with low tree canopy often lack outdoor green spaces where children can play and learn safely out of the sun; have hotter classrooms; and are subject to excessive heat for children when walking to and from school. 

Grant recipients and funded projects include

  • The Pawtucket Central Falls HEZ and Groundwork Rhode Island will develop a green schoolyard at the Calcutt Middle School;
  • The Tri-County HEZ, the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council, and Whelan School will work together to create a new shade structure for outdoor learning, a plan for tree cover with initial tree planting, and install a raised bed garden; and
  • The Central Providence HEZ, ONE Neighborhood Builders, and the Coalition Center for Environmental Sustainability will build raised garden beds and improve tree canopy at the Nathanael Greene Middle School.

2021 Temperatures and Billion-Dollar Disasters
new analysis by Climate Central found 2021 was the 4th hottest year on record for the US. The country was also hit with 20 billion-dollar disasters, totaling $145 billion in impact. The annual average temperature for 2021 was 2.5°F above the 20th century average, and 2021 had the hottest summer on historical record. The NOAA 2022 Climate Summary for Rhode Island is also available.

Share Your Input: PVD Tree Plan Community Survey

The PVD Tree Plan is an initiative led by a coalition of Providence community members, organizations, and partners to center the voices and priorities of those most impacted by lack of tree canopy and other environmental injustices as they develop a vision and action plan for creating a just, resilient and equitably distributed urban forest in Providence. The community survey is an opportunity for people who live, work, and play in Providence to provide input in the community planning process on what tree-related resources, programs, and policies are most needed in Providence. Learn more and take the survey here: The survey is available in nine languages.
Take the Survey
Climate XChange State Climate Policy Tracker
The Climate XChange State Climate Policy Dashboard tracks the passage and implementation of 50 climate policies across all 50 states. Each state's profile includes information on up-to-date policies and emissions data. Explore the tracker:
View Rhode Island's Profile
Listen: Public Health Out Loud Podcast Episode on Climate Change

In this week’s episode of the RIDOH Public Health Out Loud podcast, Dr. Jim McDonald and Dr. Philip Chan discuss climate change and health impacts with guest expert Dr. Stephen Porder. The episode is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts

Dr. Porder is a Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, a Fellow in the Institute at Brown University for Environment and Society, and the Assistant Provost for Sustainability at Brown University. 

Listen to the Episode
US Census Bureau 2019 Community Resilience Estimates
Community resilience is the capacity of individuals and households to absorb, endure, and recover from the health, social, and economic impacts of a disaster such as a hurricane or pandemic. When disasters occur, recovery depends on the community’s ability to withstand the effects of the event. In order to facilitate disaster preparedness, the Census Bureau has developed new small area estimates for community resilience, identifying communities where resources and information may effectively mitigate the impact of disasters.
Explore Community Resilience

Climate and Health in the News

Extreme Heat

Extreme Heat May Affect Young and Middle-Aged Adults More Than Older Adults Boston University School of Public Health, November 24, 2021

A third of Americans are already facing above-average warming Grist, February 15, 2022

Changing Climate Impacts in Rhode Island

An environmental group wants this oil giant's record about climate risks in RI The Providence Journal, January 6, 2022

Governor Lays Out Climate Change Plan for Rhode Island Associated Press, January 19, 2022

Wetter, warmer and more extreme: Report lays out climate change impacts for R.I. Boston Globe, January 25, 2022

Ocean water along U.S. coasts will rise about one foot by 2050, scientists warn NPR, February 15, 2022

Air Quality

Study: People of color breathe more polluted air, regardless of income Grist, December 16, 2021

Gas stoves in kitchens pose a risk to public health and the planet, research finds Washington Post, January 27, 2022


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Rhode Island Climate Change Website.
Climate Change Dashboard.
Climate Change Program
Rachel Calabro, Program Manager
Caroline Hoffman, Communications
Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), 3 Capitol Hill, Providence, RI 02908
Health Information Line: 401-222-5960 / RI Relay 711

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