Why the Army’s Health Readiness May Be Hinging on Climate Change

By path2positive

Last week, the Association of the U.S. Army held a “Hot Topics” forum on health readiness in Arlington, Virginia. Ironically, one of the "hot topics" discussed was climate change. A science advisor for the Army Public Health Center addressed the need for the army to prepare for climate change's impact on its troops. In doing so, he discussed ways in which it could affect their well-being, including concerns about  drought, violence, instability, rises in disease and mental health challenges. Because we never know just where our troops will wind up, the possibility for them to be exposed to the same conditions as the most vulnerable geographic populations always exists. In fact, we have to prepare for the worst. Health professionals will ultimately need to treat the symptoms that these members of the armed services experience. ecoAmerica has created Connecting on Climate: A Guide to Effective Climate Communication to begin the conversations about cause and effect regarding specific populations as they are impacted by climate change. In more ways than one, the Army is on the front lines.

Climate Change Creates Health Readiness Concern

Army News Service

By Gary Sheftick | September 24, 2015

Climate change might be the most significant threat facing the Army’s health readiness in the future, one Army science adviser said.

Dr. Steven Cersovsky spoke during the Association of the U.S. Army’s “Hot Topics” forum on health readiness in Arlington, Va., Sept. 22. He serves as science advisor for the Army Public Health Center (Provisional) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

“We must understand what is coming and how these changes will affect our Army,” Cersovsky said. “And we must begin adapting now.”

More heat-related injuries will be among the most obvious problems coming with global warming, Cersovsky said.

“I would also argue that we already have an unacceptably high level of heat injuries in our formations,” he said.

Operating safely in the extreme environments of the future will require engineering solutions, materiel and possibly pharmaceuticals, Cersovsky said.

Air quality will worsen with climate change, he said, including an increase in particulate matter such as dust and pollen, and the ozone layer may be affected. This will cause an increase in respiratory problems.

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