Weatherization key for climate, health

Across the U.S., climate change is driving weather patterns which severely affect the health and welfare of both people and animals. As a veterinarian, I find the images of dead and injured cattle, horses and wildlife from the devastating wildfires in Oklahoma, Texas and California to be heart-rending. Here in Vermont, the heat wave of 2018 also caused a record spike in heat related illness and emergency room visits in human patients, particularly children, the elderly and people with chronic illnesses. These problems will only become worse as global temperatures increase.

Vermont is a small state, but by prioritizing our actions, we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and improve health outcomes. Weatherization of buildings has many benefits: 1) reduces fuel expenditures and greenhouse gas emissions; 2) improves the health of people living or working in the buildings by reducing exposure to mold and mildew. The VT Department of Health estimates that properly winterizing homes reduces health-related costs by about $275 per household-year; 3) weatherization programs generate economic activity that keeps dollars in Vermont as opposed to sending that money out of state in the form of fuel expenditures.

Please write, email or call your legislators and ask them to support increased funding for weatherization programs, particularly those that help households which need financial assistance in this effort.

Ruth Blauwieke