Diseases related to air pollution kill seven million people annually, accounting for one in every eight deaths globally every year, according to the World Health Organization. This is why health professionals worldwide are coming together to advocate that public health play a significant role in the battle against climate change. The recent climate accord symbolizes one of the major health treaties of our time: that is, nearly 200 countries working with a common goal of reducing the impact that climate change has on global health and the environment.
But this is just the beginning of a long process for which we have much planning ahead. As Health Care Without Harm President Gary Cohen says in the American Prospect article below, “We’re at the very early stages of understanding how health care will respond to climate change. A warming planet may not only trigger extreme weather and the spread of disease; it may also impact the ability of health systems to respond to those threats." Ultimately, Cohen says, he would like to see every hospital in the country developing a climate action plan. So would Climate for Health. That's why we're organizing health professionals to engage with each other, developing resources, and passing on market-tested messaging strategies that can add value to your facility's planning process. We hope you'll join us.
By Sam Ross-Brown I December 18, 2015
With their landmark accord following talks in Paris, world leaders have hammered out not only the first global commitment to combat climate change, but arguably the most significant public health treaty of our time.
“The stakes are high,” World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan told negotiators on December 8. “A ruined planet cannot sustain human lives in good health.”
Chan’s sobering words echoed a June report by the Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change that warned global warming could wipe out a half-century of public health gains. That has helped fuel a movement to combat climate change among health-care professionals, who are tackling both global warming's impact on public health as well as their own carbon footprint.
The report also warned that much of that damage is already being done. During the talks, Beijing’s record-breaking—and ongoing—smog alert vividly illustrated the threat that fossil fuel-driven climate change poses for public health. Ironically, Beijing’s historic pollution alerts coincided with stubborn Chinese resistance to climate proposals on the table in Paris.
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