The American Public Health Association (APHA) has declared 2017 to be the Year of Climate Change and Health.
What is climate change?Climate is the usual temperature, precipitation and other conditions that have prevailed in an area over a long period of time. While changes to the weather can occur in a matter of hours, climate changes take hundreds or even millions of years. However, even small changes can have big effects.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), while fluctuations prior to the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s can be explained by natural events, recent changes cannot. It is extremely likely that human activities, such as burning coal, oil and gas, are the dominant forces behind recent global warming and subsequent climate change. Learn more...
Why is climate change important to public health professionals?Climate change has the potential to:
- Threaten human safety by increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather.
- Disrupt food supply due to droughts, floods and increased plant disease vulnerability.
- Increase risk of illness and death associated with more frequent, hotter days.
- Lead to respiratory and cardiovascular issues due to poor air quality.
- Cause outbreaks of vectorborne diseases in geographic areas, not previously hospitable.
While every American is vulnerable to the impact climate change can have on their health, those that have a chronic disease, are elderly or poor are disproportionately at greater risk of injury or death related to climate change. The effects of climate change are obviously borderless and threaten the global population. Learn more...
Is there a global plan to reduce climate change?On November 4, 2016, the Paris Agreement—the world’s first comprehensive climate agreement proposed within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change—was entered into force. Participating countries set nationally determined contributions of reduced emissions to that pooled together should slow rising temperatures. The effects on climate change of this agreement have yet to be realized. Learn more...
Climate change is an APHA priority topic & issue.APHA recognizes that there is still much work to be done to convince the public and elected officials that climate change effects health and that strong climate change strategies and interventions are just as important to protecting the health and safety of all people.
“Climate change is the greatest public health challenge we face today. We must ensure the best science and policies to reduce our risks.” - Georges Benjamin, MD, APHA Executive DirectorThrough the declaration of 2017 as the Year of Climate Change and Health, APHA is attempting to heighten awareness and garner the support of more public health entities in the fight against this growing threat. APHA encourages public health advocates to follow the conversation using #ClimateChangesHealth and become a partner.