A total of 74 medical and public health groups including the AMA, AHA issued a call to action against climate change last week, describing it as a public health emergency that threatens the health, safety, and well-being of millions of people. Climate change was also described as a major health opportunity to “deliver immediate and sustained health benefits to all.”
The health effects of climate change have been well documented. They include “increased respiratory and cardiovascular disease, injuries and premature deaths related to extreme weather events, changes in the prevalence and geographical distribution of food- and water-borne illnesses and other infectious diseases, and threats to mental health,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly, and those with insufficient resources, are, particularly at risk.
“Almost everything that’s good for the health of the planet is actually good for the person,” said Lushniak, “and our role is to combine those two together.”