Taking Climate Action to Improve Our Health

Climate Volunteer potting plants

Climate change presents health risks for Vermonters. Taking climate action can result in co-benefits for your health and wellness.

Climate change is happening in Vermont and the trends for hotter summers, warmer winters, and more frequent storms are expected to continue in the future. 

The Vermont Climate Assessment shows that climate change presents many health risks for Vermonters including:

  • Respiratory illness
  • Heat-related illness
  • Major weather-related disasters
  • Water or foodborne illness
  • Vector-borne disease (Lyme)
  • Seasonal allergies

It is important to recognize that climate change disproportionately affects outdoor workers, low-income community members, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), the old and young, people with health conditions or a disability, and the LGBTQ+ community.

According to Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) polling, 47 percent of Vermonters are alarmed about climate change, but only 6 percent are taking any kind of action to address it. 

Did you know that climate action can positively impact your mental and physical health? Certain climate actions can result in “co-benefits,” or added benefits above and beyond a more stable climate. These actions include weatherization, alternative transportation, and community action.

Weatherize Your Home

Weatherization refers to actions taken inside a home to increase insulation, seal air leaks and improve heating and cooling systems. These actions can help to improve the energy efficiency, safety, and comfort of your home and save you money on your energy bills. 

With less financial stress and access to better air quality and temperature control at home, weatherization contributes to overall healthier living conditions.

Learn about Vermont’s Weatherization Assistance Program

Consider Sustainable Transportation

Transportation represents 39 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont. Greenhouse gas emissions directly impact health via air pollution.

Electric vehicles (EV) are critical to reducing these emissions. So, if you are in the market for a new car, an electric vehicle may be the way to go.

Learn about Vermont’s Statewide EV incentives

If an EV is not in the cards for you yet, why not try to use more active forms of transportation? Spending less time in a car and more time walking and biking can improve your quality of life.

In addition to EVs and physical activity, climate activists are advocating for reliable transportation systems, green innovation, and the smart growth of our communities. 

Get Involved in Community Action

The realities of climate change can be overwhelming. Getting involved in climate action can give you a sense of purpose and introduce you to people who carry similar beliefs, values, and interests.  
Being part of something larger than yourself and having a support system is invaluable to your mental health and can help alleviate stress related to climate change. 

Find an Environmental Group Near You

What’s next?

Responding to climate change will have a positive impact on your health now, and in the future. There are many ways to get involved.

Learn more about how climate action can improve your health with a free webinar from Keep Vermont Cool and the Vermont Climate and Health Alliance.