In recognition of Earth Day, Climate for Health would like to acknowledge the leaders who have taken action to protect our health and communities from the destructive impacts of climate change. The daunting nature of this global challenge means people frequently turn a blind eye to it and remain focused on narrower goals. As history has shown, however, nothing extraordinary ever happened without an inspired leader articulating action. Coordinated efforts of health leaders across the country are helping to address the threats that climate change poses to human health. Our blogs attempt to touch upon some of the specific health concerns we face from climate change today, from allergies to mental health issues to the spread of diseases, and they offer opportunities for health leaders like you to get involved in climate solutions. As the Charleston Post and Courier reports below, “There are a whole host of public health impacts that are going to hit home,” said President Obama at a recent roundtable discussion with health professionals. “Ultimately ... all of our families are going to be vulnerable. You can’t cordon yourself off from air or from climate.”
By David Quick I April 14, 2015
Earth Day events are at the Medical University of South Carolina on Wednesday, the Riverfront Park in North Charleston on Saturday, and Kiawah Island on April 22. These should be an opportunity to reflect on an idea that some don’t connect: What’s good for the environment is usually good for humans and vice versa.
Clean air, water and soil. Local organic food. Biking to school or work. A plant-based diet. Living simply. All good for the Earth and humans.
Life, not politics
But those simple connections have gotten lost in the politics and polarization of the United States in the past two decades as too many associate the environment with former Vice President Al Gore instead of Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, two of the greenest (and Republican) presidents to have served.
Last week may not have helped matters more, but President Barack Obama’s highlighting of the health impacts of climate change is worth keeping an open mind about.
Obama used last week’s proclamation of National Public Health Week to reinforce the importance of our public health system and the need to take action to reduce the health impacts of climate change on our communities.
Speaking at Howard University Medical School in Washington, D.C., Obama said hazards of the changing climate include wildfires sending more pollution into the air, allergy seasons growing longer and rising cases of insect-borne diseases. Other impacts could mean more asthma attacks, heat-related deaths and injuries from extreme weather conditions.
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