Climate Change and Health
Climate change has been described by the Lancet as “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.” The World Health Organization notes that, “Human health is a central concern in climate change,” and that “beyond economic and social impacts, the well-being of the human population and the capacity of the human race to survive are at stake.”
Climate change can contribute to adverse outcomes such as:
- Nutrition insecurity and consequent developmental disorders
- Injuries and deaths resulting from extreme weather events
- Increases in respiratory disease as a result of poorer air quality
- Increases in vectorborne, foodborne and waterborne diseases
Public health professionals and partners in other sectors have a responsibility to protect people from the immediate harm of climate change and to prevent the problem from getting worse. The good news is that there are strategies to address climate change that also have immediate health benefi ts.
The Center for Public Health and Climate Change
The Public Health Institute (PHI) is a non-profit organization with over four decades of experience in improving the health, nutrition, well-being and quality of life for people in California, across the United States and around the world. PHI has a history of success in building local capacity, strengthening health systems, and training public health leaders and health advocates. PHI believes that health is a fundamental human right and that just societies ensure equitable health outcomes for everyone.
PHI’s Center for Public Health and Climate Change contributes to building healthy and climate-resilient communities that have the right tools to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The Center engages local leaders, scientists, policymakers, health care providers and civil society in mainstreaming the protection of health across a wide range of policies and sectors. It promotes strategies that effectively address the impacts of climate change on health and nutrition, while at the same time generating co-benefits from adaptation and mitigation in the health, agriculture, transport, housing and energy sectors.
By helping communities take simple steps to be prepared today and lower their risks tomorrow, the Center plays a key role in assuring that people live longer, healthier lives.
- Promote health equity and climate justice
- Develop capacity building and leadership programs that address climate and health
- Promote co-benefits from climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies across multiple sectors
- Advocate for policy change at the local, state, national and international levels
- Develop evidence-based training packages
- Provide forums for diverse sectors to engage, connect and share information
Capacity building. The Center offers technical assistance, trainings and leadership programs to support individuals, organizations, government and civil society across a range of sectors—including health, environment, agriculture—to incorporate health in climate change adaptation plans and mitigation strategies. A key component of our global work is promoting gender equity and effectively engaging women in preventing and responding to climate change.
Policy and advocacy. The Center implements focusedpolicy and advocacy strategies to ensure that climate change policies at the state, national and international level incorporate health considerations. Working to engage and inform key decision makers, including legislators, government officials and community based advocates, the Center provides leadership through policy convenings, solutions-oriented policy briefs, and online and in-person briefings.
Support evidence-based policies. The Center develops white papers, policy briefs, fact sheets and webinars to educate stakeholders on the impact of climate change on health and to promote the best strategies and policies to address them.
Promote partnerships. The Center promotes theefforts of diverse groups of people and organizations working at the intersection of climate change and public health, offering collaboration opportunities, publichealth credibility and opportunities to reach a broader audience. This approach leverages partnerships andresources in order to sustain a stronger impact on climate policy at local, national and international levels.
Communications. The Center’s virtual home,ClimateHealthConnect (www.climatehealthconnect.org), is an interactive, resource-rich website wherepublic health leaders, policymakers, academics, environmentalists and others working on theconnections between climate change and public health can share their expertise with one another and the general public.