NASP Adopts Resolution Supporting Efforts to Reduce the Harmful Effects of Climate Change on Children and Youth

PDF Version
pdf version

Bethesda, MD—As part of the National Association of School Psychologists’ (NASP) commitment to ensure all children’s learning, mental health, and ability to thrive in school, at home, and throughout life, NASP has adopted the “Resolution to Support Efforts to Reduce the Harmful Effects of Climate Change on Children and Youth.” The work of NASP is grounded in its mission, professional standards, position statements, resolutions, policies, and advocacy platforms, all of which are guided by research. Additionally, NASP’s ethical standards require school psychologists to prioritize the welfare of children, to speak up for the interests and rights of students and families, and to advocate for safe and healthy environments for children.

According to findings from the U.S. Global Change Research Program, rising global temperatures due to climate change continue to result in a variety of environmental impacts (including, but not limited to, an increase in air pollution, extreme heat conditions, and extreme weather events), all of which have negative physical and mental health implications for children and youth. NASP seeks to reduce the negative mental health and academic effects of climate change and promote healthy and equitable learning environments for all children.

School psychologists use their expertise in psychology and education to promote school, family, and community environments that are safe and healthy for children. They have specific expertise in mental and behavioral health, the effects of exposure to crises like natural disasters on learning and well-being, and the potential traumatic impacts caused by living in communities affected by harmful environmental factors linked to global climate change.

“The research is clear that environmental disasters, as well as ongoing issues related to air, ground, and water pollution, are linked to negative mental, physical, and cognitive functioning of children,” notes NASP President Wendy Price. “In schools, we see how these risk factors negatively impact students’ learning, behavior, social interactions, and overall well-being. We have a responsibility to advocate for the policies and practices to address these needs.”

Social justice and inequity are also serious concerns. NASP recognizes that climate change has resulted in disproportionately negative impacts on low-income and economically marginalized populations, students of color, and the schools and communities that serve these students and their families. “Environmental problems have long been contributing factors in structural racism and injustice, and we can longer ignore the consequences for millions of children in this country,” says Price. “NASP is committed to advancing social justice for children and their families, and this is part of that work.”

The principles articulated in this resolution guide the work of the Association and our advocacy regarding public policy, research, and school mental and behavioral health practices. NASP is committed mitigating the negative impact of climate change on the learning and mental health of children and youth within a social justice framework. NASP believes that doing so is necessary to helping all children thrive at home, in school, and throughout life.

NASP represents 25,000 school psychologists throughout the United States and abroad. NASP empowers school psychologists by advancing effective practices to improve students’ learning, behavior, and mental health.