Global Warming and Global Health

It’s October now, but think back to this past summer; in most parts of the country it was blisteringly hot.  Over the whole United States, more than 80 people died because of the heat (http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/07/09/12642682-americans-get-relief-from-heat-but-severe-storms-loom?lite).  From January to June 2012 more record highs were achieved than all of 2011 combined (http://www.wltx.com/weather/article/197773/347/More-2012-Record-Highs-than-All-of-Last-Year).  While it is important to remember that a single year of high temperatures and hot summer weather alone does not prove the existence of global warming or climate change, it does make you wonder why Americans continue to think that global warming is not a real phenomenon.

 

But perhaps a way to get more people aware of the issues surrounding climate change is to introduce the problem not as an environmental issue but rather as a public health issue.  A recent NPR article illustrates this point: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/09/10/160761974/when-heat-kills-global-warming-as-public-health-threat

 

Highlights from the article include the fact that public health is very rarely a partisan issue, that doctors and medical professionals are viewed as more trustworthy than environmentalists and journalists, and the overwhelming evidence that suggests a changing climate is indeed a drastic health issue that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.  It may well be that environmentalists will turn to public and global health experts to help raise awareness of the issues surrounding climate change; otherwise, the death toll for summer heat waves may continue to rise.

 

Read the article and see what you think; share your thoughts by commenting on this blog post or on our facebook page and twitter feed.

 

Also remember to come to our open meeting for the chapter, tomorrow at 7pm at McTrib 3127!  And watch the presidential debates at 8pm right afterwards in Harris 107!

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