We've heard it all before: "Climate change is the single biggest environmental and humanitarian crisis of our time," according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. "No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change," said President Obama in his State of the Union speech last week. Top U.S.. Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III said significant upheaval related to the warming planet “is probably the most likely thing that is going to happen . . . that will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about.’’
Mario J. Molina, a co-recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the ozone layer, argues that all sectors of society need to make it a priority to communicate the risks of climate change to the public. "There’s a myth that climate change is a worry only for future generations. It’s clearly a mistake because climate change is already happening..." says Dr. Molina in the Scientific American interview below.
As medical professionals you have seen, first-hand, the effects of climate change on your patients. Here are eight reasons why lending your voice for solution-based approaches is critical in the medical field:
1. Changes in vector ecology: Lyme Disease, encephalitis, West Nile Virus, etc.
2. Air pollution: asthma, cardiovascular disease
3. Heat-related illness and death and cardiovascular failure
4. Increasing allergies: respiratory allergies, asthma
5. Severe weather injuries, fatalities, mental health impacts
6. Water and food shortages: malnutrition, diarrheal disease
7. Water quality impacts: cryptosporidiosis, cholera, harmful algal blooms, etc.
8. Environmental degradation causing forced migration, mental health impacts
Climate for Health is a led by a diverse network of health leaders from across the sector. Aside from connecting you with others in the health care field, we can offer communication guidance and talking points, and help design a way for you and your staff to create a personalized plan to take action and track your progress towards reaching your goals. You play a key role in protecting public health, and we need you now more than ever.
A Q&A with Nobel laureate Mario Molina on climate change
Scientific American Forum is an invited essay from experts on topical issues in science and technology.
Editor’s Note: As leaders from business, politics and science convene this week at the World Economic Forum conference in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss pressing matters of the day, Scientific American is publishing a series of interviews with leading scientists, produced in conjunction with the forum. This is the first of four interviews for the WEF by Katia Moskvitch.
Evidence is overwhelming that carbon emissions are the biggest single cause of increasing global average temperatures, melting polar ice caps and rising sea levels. Why, then, do so many people deny that climate change is the result of human activity? Mario J. Molina, a co-recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the ozone layer, says that more must be done to help the public understand climate science before atmospheric carbon reaches catastrophic levels.
Molina spoke to us about why public understanding of the impact of climate change is so important, and what efforts are being planned to get this message across.
[To read an edited transcript of the interview, click here.]
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