New NEHA Climate Change Position Statement

By Rosie DeVito and Madelyn Gustafson

The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) has published a new Climate Change Position Statement in 2020. Through its second published climate change position statement, NEHA recognizes climate change as a worldwide environmental health challenge that impacts the health and safety of individuals and communities. Developed with leadership and guidance from NEHA’s Climate and Health Program Committee, this position statement highlights NEHA’s growing commitment to mitigating climate change, highlighting the effects of climate change on environmental health, and demonstrating support for environmental health professionals in addressing the health impacts of climate change. The key areas the statement focuses on include health equity and climate justice, multidisciplinary approaches, engaging and empowering communities, community resilience, and the economic costs of climate change. NEHA and its Climate and Health Program Committee recognize that many local, state, and federal policy issues must be addressed to effectively mitigate climate change. However, an increased focus on community engagement will help address climate change vulnerabilities and create resiliency from the bottom-up. This position statement is intended to be used as a basis for environmental health professionals and their colleagues in related fields to initiate discussions within their communities and at their workplaces regarding potential impacts and vulnerabilities related to climate change.

NEHA supports the following actions for environmental health professionals:

  • Take a multidisciplinary and global approach to addressing climate change
  • Create a “whole community’ engagement approach to engage and empower the entire community
  • Strengthen community resilience to climate-related events
  • Collect baseline rates of disease and examine exposure-outcome associations to quantify the impacts of climate change on health
  • Reduce barriers, share best practices, and evaluate metrics through stakeholder engagement strategies
  • Work with CDC’s Climate and Health Program to assist health departments in developing climate-ready states and cities

Addressing climate change can be an overwhelming and daunting task, but when all individuals in a community engage, prepare, and collaborate on effective climate change strategies, then partnerships and solutions arise. Through the new NEHA Climate Change Position Statement, NEHA supports and recognizes the importance of its members’ work in climate change education, mitigation, and adaptation.

NEHA is a partner of Climate for Health, a coalition of health leaders committed to caring for our climate to care for our health. Founded by ecoAmerica, Climate for Health offers tools, resources, and communications to demonstrate visible climate leadership, inspiring and empowering health leaders to speak about, act on, and advocate for climate solutions. Learn more about the partnership and resources available to you here.

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