Julie Kimmel from USA

I am the parent of a sensitive and energetic six-year-old daughter. I live with my daughter and husband in Reston, a Northern Virginia suburb of DC. I also grew up here in Reston. I am a project manager for Moms Clean Air Force.

For as long as I can remember, traffic congestion has been a major issue in Northern Virginia, and cars and trucks are certainly our largest source of air pollution.

Climate change is already affecting communities across our state. Over the last decade, we’ve had several severe wind storms—a phenomenon I don’t recall from my childhood here. We’ve also seen multiple so-called 100-year rain storms. And the annual number of days when temperatures soar past 90 degrees is growing.

My daughter just started first grade. The absolute biggest joy of her life is meeting her friends after school outside at our neighborhood playground. They play make believe and build shelters for bugs. They jump rope and throw frisbees. Playing outdoors is so important for children—they learn how to be cooperative, compassionate humans on the playground.

But when temperatures climb past 95 degrees, I have to ask my daughter to stay inside. She plays hard, overheats easily, and I do not want to risk a trip to the emergency room for heat-related illness.

It’s not just me and my kid and my neighbors. Families across the country are losing so much valuable play and school time to extreme storms, extreme heat, and wildfires—thanks to climate change. And this on top of the education crisis we’re facing because of COVID.

I am worried about the impacts of climate change on my daughter’s education, health, and future.

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