XIX Introduction As pediatricians who care for infants, children, and ado- lescents, we know that hardly a week goes by during which parents don’t hear a story or read a blog about the effects of the environment on children’s health. In 2020 the pandemic of COVID-19 swept across the world and showed that health and the environment are very much intertwined. Spread from person to person by cough- ing, breathing, and talking with others nearby, it clearly demonstrated the risks of living and working close to other people. During the previous year, stories about the disastrous fires in Australia showed the total impact, over the years, of slowly increasing climate change on the continent. Dramatic events such as these offer an oppor- tunity to focus on children’s environmental health issues, to teach children about them, and to bring attention to the importance of prevention. They also highlight the many different “environments” in which a child lives: the bedroom, the home, the school, the neighborhood, the park, the community, the state, the country, the world— these are circles, each one larger than the next. Although large-scale events such as massive forest fires heighten our awareness that environmental crises have important physical and psychological effects on children and their families, it is easy to overlook the fact that less visible (or invisible) environmental threats can also have important physical and psychological effects. We must pay attention to the highly visible threats and the invisible threats to infants, children, and adolescents. It is especially impor­ tant to focus on our young people because compared with adults, children are often more susceptible to environ- mental health hazards. We must also focus on the many positive aspects of the environment, such as being outside in nature.
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