May 21, 2024

PIDS Statement and Articles on Sustainability and Climate

Read the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society supplemental articles on the topic:

PIDS statement:

Last year was the hottest year humans have measured, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2.12˚  Celsius above 20th century average). Of the hottest years officially recorded, the past decade owns the entire top 10, with 2024 projected to join (at least) the top 5. Our planet is on a literal, untenable hot streak. One that we in health care, including pediatric infectious diseases, have made our own contributions.

As good health providers, stewards, promoters and protectors, it is on us to help combat some of climate change’s worst effects through better sustainability. Our changing environment is causing the proliferation of bacteria, fungi, and parasites due to arctic ice disappearing, permafrost thawing, and higher, sustained temperatures. Warmer temperatures are affecting the geographic spread of where infection vectors are breeding and thriving.

We see this in Anopheles and Aedes aegypti mosquitos that now are circulating beyond their usual tropical confines to bring malaria and dengue, respectively, to areas including the United States. Tick-borne babesiosis has spread further in the Northeast and Midwest thanks to rising temperatures. With gained thermotolerance, Candida auris has crept into humans.

These few examples demonstrate just how involved pediatric infectious diseases specialists must be in addressing climate change and finding sustainable solutions. We understand that climate change issues do not fall equitably on the globe. While the U.S. is now experiencing more instances of diseases such as malaria, our climate change problems have been endemic in less developed tropical nations. In addition, developed nations’ carbon output generates a greater burden on less developed nations and less affluent communities.

As professionals in pediatric ID, we have the experience in matters such as stewardship and collaboration that will prove vital to facing the climate change challenges. It is our duty to proactively safeguard current and future generations of children, and to be part of constructing the equitable infrastructure capable of doing so.

We must all acknowledge how our decisions and behavior contribute to the problem and understand our role in stewarding our world into one where sustainability is a consideration in health care actions. This collection of articles aims to raise awareness of the different aspects of how our field can help reduce the negative environmental impact we can have when providing care.

This partnership between JPIDS and OFID is one of the many ways PIDS aims to draw attention to the most important issues and concerns of our members.

Improving the health of children worldwide through philanthropic support of scientific and educational programs.

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