"When we talk about climate change solutions, we also need to analyze power and how we distribute power." -- Vivian Huang, Asian Pacific Environmental Network
We know climate change impacts health and affects the most vulnerable populations. The time to act on climate change is now.
Many activities that address climate change also benefit public health. We call these co-benefits. For example:
- Shifting from a diet high in meat and dairy to a plant-based diet decreases fresh water demands and methane emissions while reducing heart disease risk.
- Designing communities that foster active living and reduce car reliance lowers traffic-related emissions that aggravate respiratory illness and contribute to climate change.
- Effectively using natural ventilation through climate-friendly housing design can help decrease heat stress.
- Constructing buildings that provide daylight and convenient stairwells that not only decrease electricity use, but also improve people's mental health, physical activity levels and productivity.
Whether on a nation, regional or local level, we all can act on climate change. We can work with our transportation agencies, parks and planning departments and housing agencies to reduce air pollution and climate-related health risks. We can educate our policymakers and the public about the climate and health connection and talk about the health benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Every profession has a role to play in addressing climate change. While health care providers treat individuals, public health professionals focus on prevention at the population level. Both have a different but vital role to play in addressing climate change. Check out this helpful fact sheet explaining the difference between the health care and public health approach.
As public health professionals, we are best poised to prevent, detect and manage the health implications of climate change. We need to be the leading voice in advancing climate change strategies and interventions that have co-benefits for all. We must work together to #ActOnClimate now.
From Public Health Newswire*:
Health thinking in the built environment
Shared opportunities for action
(*Blog posts only represent the view of the author)
Follow the conversation using the hashtag #ClimateChangesHealth.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND HEALTH SPOTLIGHTS
The Time to Act is Now: Empowering Future Generations to Address Climate Change