On our most recent Let’s Talk Climate episode, we were joined by Dr. Neelu Tummala, an ear, nose, and throat physician and clinical assistant professor of surgery at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She is on the Steering Committee for Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action, the Board for the Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions, and is on the Associate Board of City Year DC. She is a trained Climate Reality Leader and Climate for Health Ambassador.
We talked about…talking about climate change! So much of what we can do on climate change starts with a conversation. Making climate change a normal part of everyday conversation can also make solutions more immediate and tangible. And, it is also important to make sure “that we are thinking about climate justice as a part of every conversation involving climate solutions.” We do have the opportunity to multisolve the climate crisis by centering health equity in solutions.
The Climate for Health Ambassadors Program trains and supports health professionals in their climate action and advocacy. We want to make sure that we work with everyone during the training, but also support ongoing actions. While we absolutely need ambitious and immediate action NOW, we also know it takes time to educate folks and draft, pass, and enforce legislation. Neelu’s advice for making this a lifelong endeavor is to create a network. “As individuals, we can definitely make an impact, but together, that’s where the real action happens.”
There isn’t a textbook on how to be a Climate for Health Ambassadors or how to be a climate advocate; the motivation comes from within. Neelu told a story about Jane Goodall, who tells a story about going to a conference as a scientist and leaving as an advocate. That story is so resonant for health professionals, including Neelu, who learn more and more about the ways climate change impacts our health and are then motivated to act on climate solutions.
We ended our conversation on a note of positivity heading into a season of giving and thanks. “We still have time to make a tremendous impact on the climate…together I really do think that we can make an incredible difference in the future and for future generations.”
Organizations & Resources mentioned in the episode
Climate for Health Ambassadors Training Program
Medical Students for a Sustainable Future
Health Voices for Climate Action
Virginia Clinicians for Climate Solutions
Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions
The Atlantic weekly climate newsletter (Weekly Planet)
NY Times Climate Fwd Newsletter
Environmental Health News Above the Fold newsletter
Climate for Health newsletter subscription
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