Hi Everyone. Welcome to my Climate Corner. My name is Rachel Kowalsky, and I am a social Worker with Healthy Starts. I’ve spent over a decade hiking, backpacking, and exploring the forests and trails of New Hampshire, New England, and beyond. I’ve seen the effects of climate change firsthand with several wildfires in the White Mountains National Forest. I decided to act by reducing my use of single use plastics, recycling, composting, plating native plants in my yard, and even driving my electric car.

In October, I attended the revamped New Hampshire Healthy Homes conference in Concord. DHHS in New Hampshire is recognizing the effects of Climate Change on our population and renamed the conference to be the New Hampshire Environmental Health Conference. All speakers were focused on climate change and its effects on our population. Within this conference, an opportunity to expand my efforts into activism presented itself and I joined New Hampshire Healthcare Workers for Climate Action and specifically two work groups for Behavioral and Child Health. These groups are focused on solutions and generating supports for the people of the state of New Hampshire. It is my hope that this Climate Corner will help get the word out and raise interest in both climate initiatives and in New Hampshire Healthcare Workers for Climate Action.

One such initiative that is currently gaining attention, is called CHICKS or Climate and Health Initiative for Children of Kearsarge and Sunapee. This is a novel community-level program to protect the physical and emotional health of young children in the face of climate change. In NH we are already seeing an impact of a warming climate on children’s health: increasing seasonal allergies, asthma, vector-borne diseases (ticks and mosquitoes), food insecurity, heat stress, pregnancy outcomes, and climate anxiety.

CHICKS and other initiatives through New Hampshire Healthcare Workers for Climate Action could be supported in the Monadnock Region and a benefit to our community as we move forward. If you would like more information, please feel free to  add your name in support of the CHICKS community outreach model already underway in Kearsarge/Sunapee NH and spread the word if you know someone who might also be interested. It is also my hope that we can generate a conversation within HCS and Cheshire County as to how we may support greener practices in our daily routines. If you have any ideas, please feel fee to reach out to me at rkowalsky@hcsservices.org