2012 NEHA/UL Sabbatical Report— Vulnerability to Potential Impacts of Climate Change: Adaptation and Risk Communication Strategies for Environmental Health Practitioners in the United Kingdom
Climate change risk assessment, adaptation, and mitigation planning have become increasingly important to environmental health practitioners (EHPs). The NEHA/UL Sabbatical Exchange Award allowed me to investigate how EHPs in the UK are incorporating climate change planning and communication strategies into their work. Projected climate change risks in the UK include flooding, extreme heat, water shortages, severe weather, decreased air quality, and changes in vectors. Despite public perception and funding challenges, all the local government representatives with whom I met incorporated climate change risk assessment, adaptation, and mitigation planning into their work. The mandated Community Risk Register serves as a key planning document developed by each local government authority and is a meaningful way to look at potential climate change health risks. Adaptation and sustainability were common threads in my meetings. These often took the form of “going green” with transportation, energy efficiency, conserving resources, and building design because the efforts made sense monetarily as future cost savings. Communication strategies targeted a variety of audiences (EHPs, non-EHP government employees, politicians, and the general public) using a broad range of communication channels (professional training, lobbying, conferences and fairs, publications, print materials, Internet resources, social media, billboards, etc).
Journal of Environmental Health
Speaker / Author:
Dhitinut Ratnapradipa, MSc, MPA, PhD