By Sarah Schmitt
On Saturday, March 15th the Community Food and Justice Coalition (CFJC) represented PHI’s Center for Climate Change & Health at Walk with a Doc, a free community event in Berkeley’s San Pablo Park, to talk about the connections between climate change and health and how walking can improve both.
Walk with a Doc co-hosted the event with the City of Berkeley, the Ecology Center, Lifelong Medical Care, and Heart 2 Heart. Walk with a Doc is a national, non-profit program that coordinates events in community parks across the country focused on bringing together local residents with physicians, health specialists, and health care professionals. Saturday’s 2.5 mile walk included a conversation on the connections among individual and community health, physical activity, and climate change. Participants learned the importance of active transportation, spent time with their families and neighbors, and took a walk around San Pablo Park.
CFJC talked with attendees about the connection between health and climate change, and join in on the walk. Through a carbon footprint game, CFJC engaged participants in thinking about how climate change affects them. They may not have had an answer at the start of the game, but by the end they did! Physicians at the event explained how walking benefits your health by reducing stress and fatigue, improving circulation, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and more. The Berkeley Climate Action Coalition discussed how increased active transportation can help to mitigate climate change. Climate change puts the health of our communities at risk, but by walking, biking and leading a more active lifestyle, a community can reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also significantly improving health. It’s a win-win.
Events like Walk with a Doc bring people together and provide an opportunity to speak openly about how climate change is adversely impacting the health of individuals, communities, and the entire planet, as well as how strategies to address climate change – like shifting to more active transportation – can offer many, many health benefits.