Despite well-researched reports showing that climate change is affecting health right now in America, only about 1/3 of Americans are aware of the risks. Most Americans think climate change is only impacting communities abroad, if affecting human health at all. Among those who are aware that Americans’ health is being harmed, many imagine that climate change holds little risk to their own health. Allergy is a common condition that is heavily affected by climate change, affecting up to 30% of the U.S. population. Warmer temperatures are creating longer, more robust growing seasions and record-high pollen counts, yet many people suffering from allergies are completely unaware of the immediate impacts of climate change and how it could be exacerbating their condition right now, this year.
Climate change is not only a threat to polar bears and glaciers, or a problem that will occur sometime in the future, many years from now. It affects the health of Americans today. Improving awareness of this issue could foster better understanding of what climate change means for individuals and their families. With this knowledge of current health threats from climate change, people are more likely to become more engaged and active on this issue. This is important because transformative change occurs when enough people see the need for it and collectively call for it. To protect the public from the health effects of climate change and carbon pollution, we need to move toward clean and renewable energy and away from the use of carbon polluting fossil fuels.
Beginning Monday, May 9th, the American Public Health Association and ecoAmerica, along with a number of leading health associations and experts, will be launching a four-part webinar series entitled, Making the Connection: Climate Changes Health. Together we will explore the connection between climate change and key areas of our health: allergies and asthma; health risks in children; mental health; and transportation and healthy community design as a mitigation approach. This series has been developed to help strengthen knowledge and awareness around how climate change threatens our health, and how engaging more health professionals to lead on climate solutions is essential to promoting health and well-being. In our first webinar, Making the Connection: Climate Changes Allergies and Asthma, participants will discover how climate change conditions adversely impact allergies and asthma. Register today.
The full schedule is below:
May 9 – Making the Connection: Climate Changes Allergies and Asthma
May 26 – Making the Connection: Climate Changes Children’s Health
June 7 – Making the Connection: Changing Climate through Healthy Community Design and Transportation
June 29 – Making the Connection: Climate Changes Mental Health
Dr. Mona Sarfaty, MD, MPH
Director, Program on Climate and Health
Center for Climate Change Communication
George Mason University
Dr. Mona Sarfaty is the Director of the Program on Climate and Health at George Mason University. She is a family medicine physician and public health doctor who has engaged in research and teaching for over 30 years. During this time, she has focused on primary care, cancer screening, and public policy, including the health effects of climate change. She has lectured at national & regional venues including medical societies, health plans, health departments, professional organizations, & government conferences. She is the author of widely circulated guides and publications, including peer reviewed articles and two book chapters on climate change and health.
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