Since its founding, National PTA has worked to secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth. Over the years, National PTA has recognized the growing importance of environmental issues and the impact they have on the health and welfare of children and their families. PTA members have a responsibility to promote environmental health and safety, and to help protect our world’s finite natural resources.
National PTA recognizes the scientific consensus surrounding climate change and the impact of human activities. Children represent a particularly vulnerable group already suffering disproportionately from both direct and indirect adverse health effects of anthropogenic global warming.
National PTA urges its members at all levels to monitor, support, and advocate for laws, regulations, and programs that:
- Promote environmental education programs in pre-Kindergarten through higher education including educating students on climate and energy literacy and human sustainability.
- Make schools carbon-neutral and energy-efficient models.
- Eliminate environmental pollutants and prevent new hazards.
- Protect children from health risks by testing for specific hazards in and around homes and schools and, if hazards are found, by limiting exposure and addressing remedies.
- Use protection and management strategies that take into account the geographic, economic, ethnic, cultural, and other societal factors that influence the incidence, exposure, and effects of environmental health hazards.
- Require comprehensive right-to-know and public information provisions in environmental laws and policies.
- Encourage the use of renewable, sustainable energy and technologies, as well as environmentally healthy land-use policies to reduce greenhouse gases and manage hazards to minimize further health problems.
- Promote “reduce, re-use, and recycle” policies and support incentives for pollution prevention and natural resource conservation activities.
- Improve the quality of our physical environment by securing and monitoring the enforcement of stricter health and safety standards for contaminants and pollutants.
- Minimize the production of hazardous waste, and enforce strict compliance with rules that require the safe transportation, storage, management, and disposal of hazardous waste.
- Support research and data collection about environmental hazards and health risks.
- Reduce man-made contributions to climate change and mitigate their impact on children’s health.
Glossary of Terms:
Anthropogenic global warming: climate change as a result of human activity.
Carbon footprint: the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular person, group, etc.
Carbon-neutral: having a net zero carbon footprint.
Energy literacy: an understanding of the nature and role of energy in the world and daily lives accompanied by the ability to apply this understanding to answer questions and solve problems.
Environmental remediation: the action of reversing or stopping environmental damage
Human sustainability: involves specific goals, strategies and methods implemented to preserve and improve the quality of human life.
Adopted: November 2003
Amended: November 2016
This position statement was written to update and combine resolutions and position statements concerning “Environmental Health and Safety.” The original resolutions and position statements will be archived in the Historical Records as reference on this issue.