AUDIO | “Is it raining?” My five-year-old asked me this last Saturday morning as he padded out of his bedroom in his spaceship pyjamas and contemplated the muted grey sky out our front window.

In Vancouver, grey skies usually signify clouds of water, and after days of heat and sunshine, this confused him. Although I was almost out the door, readying myself for polluted air and sick patients, I scooped him up into a hug and said it was wildfire smoke. And even though he would have to stay indoors, he was going to have a good day. As he later waved and called to me through the window, he looked perfectly happy, simultaneously warming and breaking my heart.

Indeed, as our children step into the colliding crises of the climate emergency and COVID-19 pandemic, it will take all the knowledge and skill we have as parents to keep them and our communities safe and healthy.  Read the rest of this article by Dr. Melissa Lem at Canada’s National Observer…

Dr. Melissa Lem appeared on People First Radio to speak about this article. Listen to the interview.

dr melissa lem_parenting through climate and covid19 crises


Dr. Melissa Lem is a Vancouver family physician who also works in rural and remote communities across Canada. A board member of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, and Director of Parks Prescriptions for the BC Parks Foundation, she is a passionate advocate for the health benefits of time spent in nature. A senior writer for the CBC, she was the resident medical expert on CBC-TV’s hit lifestyle show Steven and Chris for four seasons and continues to educate diverse audiences on air. Her work has also been published by the Vancouver Sun, Toronto Star, Montreal Gazette, The Narwhal and National Observer. She was the inaugural winner of University College’s Young Alumni of Influence Award at the University of Toronto, and is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia.

Image: Dr. Melissa Lem with her son (contributed)