Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility (Chesapeake PSR) is building a statewide program in Virginia to actively promote clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs and policies. We work to ensure that health professionals and health advocates play a vital part in addressing issues related to climate change, energy choices and human health.
Our Virginia effort is being led by Tim Whitehouse, executive director of Chesapeake PSR; Barb Gottlieb, director of environment and health at national Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR); Ben Hoyne, an environment and health consultant based in Richmond, Virginia; and an ad hoc advisory group of medical and health professionals and advocates.
What we do
Working together for change: Fossil fuel energy production and use in Virginia emit dangerous amounts of pollutants into the air, leading to a variety of serious health issues, including respiratory ailments, heart attacks, strokes and lung cancer. Fossil fuels also produce greenhouse gases. These greenhouse gases cause our planet to warm and our climate to change. A warmer world increases health risks such as extreme weather events, heat, air pollution, allergies, water pollution and infectious disease.
To address these impacts, PSR in Virginia supports efforts to:
- Increase the amount of clean, renewable energy used in Virginia and develop the Clean Energy Saves Lives program (see below).
- Promote the efficient use of energy in Virginia.
- Train and educate health and medical professionals and the general public about how climate change and the use of fossil fuels and other dirty energy sources affect our health.
- Oppose the expansion of dirty and/or dangerous energy such as coal, natural gas and nuclear power.
- Ensure the fair treatment and involvement of all people in the development of Virginia’s energy choices.
Clean Energy Saves Lives program: The purpose of PSR's Clean Energy Saves Lives program is to advocate for and promote the use of clean, renewable energy, energy conservation and energy-efficient technologies in Virginia, and to shift the state’s economy away from its reliance on fossil fuels.
Chesapeake PSR's work in Virginia will focus at the state level on providing a nonpartisan message on the co-benefits of clean energy. We are creating an extensive volunteer network of health professionals and advocates in Virginia to advance more widespread knowledge of the health co-benefits of increasing clean energy in Virginia. Reducing fossil fuel pollution will bring reductions in airborne fine particulate matter – leading to reduced heart disease, lung cancer and mortality – as well as reductions in ozone, reducing death and exacerbations from respiratory diseases.
Chesapeake PSR will build the knowledge base and advocacy skills of doctors, nurses and other health professionals in Virginia so that they can play a part in addressing issues related to climate change, energy choices and human health.
Chesapeake PSR is in the process of creating Virginia educational materials and presentations for use in our training programs, seminars and public events. Below are some of the materials we have developed:
Letters and petitions
Open (please sign)
- Petition to Virginia General Assembly: Support Efforts to Remove Virginia’s Anti-Competitive Solar Policies (open)
- Petition to Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ): Reject certification of Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines
- Health professional and advocate sign-on letter to Virginia DEQ: Support Carbon Reductions in Virginia, July 26, 2017 (closed)
- Health professional and advocate letter to Senator Frank Wagner (with attachment): Expressing support for the governor's proposal to draft regulations limiting CO2 emissions, June 15, 2017 (closed). Similar letters were sent to all members of the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules.
All Virginia petitions (open and closed).