Public Health Groups Call for Urgent Climate Action
Over 70 medical and public health organizations called on elected (and hoping-to-be-elected) officials Monday last week to commit to combating what they deem to be the “greatest public health challenge of the 21st century.”
This may be the first time a large group of reputable public health experts has made unambiguous connections between climate change and human health.
For much of the past 50 years of eco-activism in the US, defense of the environment has largely been framed as hostile to human interests, particularly with regard to economics. Those advocating for better treatment of the natural world and better use of resources were accused of placing animal welfare before human welfare- as though humans would be able to survive on a planet where other mammals could not.
“The health, safety, and well-being of millions of people in the U.S. have already been harmed by human-caused climate change, and health risks in the future are dire without urgent action to fight climate change,” said the groups, which included the National Medical Association and the American Heart Association, in a letter on Monday.
Without urgent climate action, the lives of lower-income families and people in communities of color are disproportionately at risk. “Communities that have experienced systemic neglect and environmental racism have the least responsibility for climate pollution but are the most affected,” the letter reads. “These communities have less access to the political, economic, social, and environmental resources that enable them to cope with climate threats and face potentially unmanageable pressures as the impacts of climate change mount.”
You can read more at Grist.org here.