Press Release

California Nurses Join National March for Climate Action

RNs Highlight Harmful Effects of Tar Sands, Keystone XL

As a national march convenes Saturday morning in Los Angeles for action to address the growing crisis of climate change, registered nurses will be on hand to highlight the human toll of the climate crisis.

A 9 a.m. rally at Wilmington Waterfront Park in Wilmington, Ca, adjacent to C Street near the port will be followed by a march, which is the first leg of a national series of actions intended to build public demand for real solutions to address the worsening climate crisis.

In Los Angeles, there will be a particular focus on escalating public opposition to local tar sands oil refining and fracking.

“Nurses see the direct fallout of fossil fuel production in our patients harmed by worsening pollution,” said Margie Keenan, RN secretary of the California Nurses Association, and an RN at Long Beach Memorial Hospital, the second largest hospital in Los Angeles County.

“We see growing numbers of children struggling with asthma, other respiratory problems, patients with elevated levels of lead in the blood, recurring nose bleeds and nausea, and premature death. Who does the bell toll for tar sands and fossil fuel pollution? It tolls for our families, our neighbors, our communities,” Keenan said.

CNA members have joined a number of actions challenging the expansion of fracking in the Los Angeles area and in opposition to the processing of toxic tar sands oil at port area refineries, an area where pollution is already choking tens of thousands.

Children living in the area have double the national average in asthma rates, and 4,000 people living near San Pedro Bay, it has been reported, die prematurely each year due to pollution related illnesses.

The health hazards of tar sands, from extraction to transport to refining, are also a major reason why NNU opposes construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Additionally, Keystone and tar sands in particular would accelerate the climate crisis, climate scientists agree. NNU recently sent five delegations of RN volunteers to participate in disaster relief in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, called the largest cyclone ever to hit landfall, fueled by sub-surface ocean temperatures 9 degrees above normal.

The RN volunteers treated thousands of patients affected by injuries caused by the storm. One of those volunteers, Paolo Montenegro, an RN from UCLA Medical Center, is scheduled to speak at the rally Saturday morning.


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