Climate change creates a need for preparedness and an understanding of emergency response, because in a warming climate, disaster strikes more often. With wild fires, rising sea levels and unpredictable weather patterns on the rise, it is essential to have environmental health professionals equipped with the best information to work within these unprecedented conditions. Check out NEHA's course offerings to learn more about how you can be prepared.
Climate change has a direct impact on food safety and security. NEHA offers a variety of courses and trainings to help ensure people are ready to deal with food crises related to food safety. Additionally, the Journal of Environmental Health has a number of peer-reviewed articles pertaining to the state of food safety and climate.
Built environment is the infrastructure of cities and towns that includes transportation, roadways, buildings, and land-use. Built environment design and development can help mitigate climate change, support adaptation, and improve environment and public health. The more resilient the built environment, the less impact from climate change.
Climate change affects the air we breathe and the environment around us. It is most noticeable with air pollution—soot, smog, and toxic pollutants and includes carbon pollution, as well as methane and hydrofluorocarbons.
The impacts of climate change include the economy. If it is not addressed, then the cost is great—not just the financial cost, but also the environmental and social costs. Investing in sustainable, low-carbon, and resilient infrastructure will save money, preserve the environment, and provide for healthy communities.
Health tracking, technology and data play a huge role in curbing the effects of climate change. By providing resources to local health departments on the current state of climate change in any given region, environmental health professionals can move forward with the best techniques to continue fighting climate change. NEHA offers a number of courses on how to better use technology to help the environmental health profession.
Climate Change and Environmental/Public Health
Climate change impacts health and is a significant threat. According to the Lancet Commission, “climate change could be the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.” The health effects from climate change will affect most populations especially those most vulnerable: children, elderly, those with chronic health issues, and those living in poverty.
Climate Science Special Report
The Climate Science Special Report, released by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, describes current trends in the climate globally and for the U.S., as well as projects trends in temperature, precipitation, sea-level rise, and Arctic Sea ice for the remainder of this century.
Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change
The Lancet Countdown’s 2017 report tracks 40 indicators across five areas, arriving at three key conclusions: 1) the human symptoms of climate change are unequivocal and potentially irreversible; 2) the delayed response to climate change over the past 25 years has jeopardized human life and livelihoods; and 3) the past five years have seen an accelerated response.
Paris Climate Change Talks
To build upon the 21st Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP21), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Government of France jointly hosted the Second Global Conference on Health & Climate: “Building Healthier Societies Through Implementation of the Paris Agreement” on July 7-8 in Paris. The original Paris climate agreement, of which the U.S. is a signatory, was completed on December 12, 2015. This conference responded to the commitments to protect and promote health, and their requests through the World Health Assembly and WHO Executive Board, to renew and reinforce the engagement of the health community to respond to climate change, and to address closely related environmental issues, including air pollution.
NEHA’s Executive Director, Dr. David Dyjack, had the privilege of attending and contributing to the conference. There was great attendance, quality interventions, and an overall positive and coherent message of a strong health community ready to implement the Paris Agreement. Dr. Dyjack spoke to the 500 delegates during the closing session about the potential contributions of the sizeable global environmental health workforce, which had been largely overlooked. Please see his column in the September 2016 issue of the Journal of Environmental Health.
For more information, please see the Conference Conclusions and Action Agenda.
For an interactive resource, click here.
The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment
A recent report released from the White House addresses the public and environmental health impacts of climate change. The report was informative and helped bridge the gap between climate change and environmental health. NEHA’s Director or Government Affairs, Joanne Zurcher, was at the White House during the live streamed event and NEHA members were invited to participate in the exclusive White House call that followed the publicized live streaming event.
During the call NEHA members were able to engage in a question and answer session with the President’s Science Advisor, Dr. John P. Holdren, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. Also during the call the report was summarized to cover key findings about climate change and its effects on public and environmental health.
The President's Clean Power Plan
Historic carbon pollution standards were introduced by President Obama in August of 2015.
"Environmental health professionals work in your communities to protect your air, food, and water. The President’s Clean Power Plan builds on our profession’s efforts to create safe and healthy communities by limiting carbon pollution from power plants, which will improve and protect the public’s health now and for years to come. We welcome and support this significant milestone." David T. Dyjack, Dr.PH, CIH
Executive Director, NEHA
Article by The Lancet Climate Commission:
The Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change issued “Health and climate change: policy responses to protect public health” with the imperative that “tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century.” The Commission reaffirms the severity of the threat climate change poses to health globally, but adds support for action, finding that tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century. This report examines the latest health data and arrives at ground-breaking conclusions."
"With the increasing frequency weather-related events such as the tornado and flood warnings that hit Denver (June 25), it is heartening to see climate change getting the attention it deserves. Environmental health professionals have been on the frontline and have witnessed firsthand the real health effects of climate change that have been reported in the Lancet Commission Report on Health and Climate (June 23, 2015). Our members are the experts who work tirelessly to make our communities safer and healthier places to live and will no doubt be instrumental in the actions suggested in the Lancet." David T. Dyjack, Dr.PH, CIH, Executive Director, NEHA
“This is an important time in environmental health — the health threats from climate change are probably the most critical environmental health issue today. Environmental health professionals are the ones working to protect people's health and its environment—air quality, healthy homes, water, built environment, food safety/security, and more. NEHA supports the Lancet report that ‘tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century.’ This is a priority for NEHA.” Vanessa DeArman, Sustainability Project Coordinator, NEHA
Encyclical Letter Laudato Si' of the Holy Father Franci Father Francis on Care for our Common Home:
On May 24, 2015 Pope Francis became the first pope to ever address climate change.