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July 2021

Every voice matters!

In early July, the village of Lytton, a community in the western Canada province of British Columbia, experienced a high temperature of 121F / 49.5C degrees -- the highest temperature ever recorded in the country -- a result of a “heat dome” which sat over the region for several days. Under these conditions, a fire started in Lytton, and the village burned to the ground.. An estimated 600 people died in the province from heat-related causes. As one BC doctor put it, “the #ClimateEmergency has caused its first mass casualty event in Canada.”

Climate impacts on people’s health are now being seen in country after country -- from recent extreme flooding in China and in Germany, to extreme wildfires in Russia and the US, from repeated and more devastating hurricanes in the Antilles, the Caribbean and US, to “the first famine in modern history to be caused solely by climate change” in Madagascar. We are seeing the health impacts from climate change ramp up real time now.

And yet, by a very slim thread, it still may be possible to avert the worst outcomes.

But there are ways to arrest this trajectory, and even to deliver improved health along the way. A recent study by The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change found that in just the nine countries studied, climate action aligned with Paris Agreement targets would save 1.18 million, 5.86 million and 1.15 million lives per year due to improvements in air quality, diet and physical activity respectively by 2040, in addition to those saved by protecting people from climate change itself. Additional modeling found that the health benefits of improved air quality alone would offset the costs of climate action twice over at the global level.

In this fight for the health and well-being of humanity, for the health of the planet on which human health depends , every voice matters. As a public health professional, I’ll be more specific: Every health voice matters, because we are among the most trusted professionals in societies across the world.
A multinational survey of doctors and nurses in April 2021 found that
nearly 90% of those surveyed felt that health professionals  can and should bring the health effects of climate change to the attention of policy makers, pushing for effective climate policies.


Working health professionals have a lot on their plates, but it need not take much to add your voice. It can be as simple as raising the question in your health facility about whether it has a climate plan, writing a social media post about why you, as a health professional, are concerned about climate change, or emailing a local or national elected official to voice the same concern.
With over 50 million health professionals around the world, together our voices can make a difference.


The time to speak up and make that difference is now.

Jeni Miller, PhD
Executive Director
Global Climate and Health Alliance


NEWS IN BRIEF


- GCHA published the “Healthy NDC Scorecard”, which ranks 40 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) covering 66 countries, including the joint NDC submitted by the 27 countries of the European Union. The Scorecard found a wide spectrum of scores achieved by both low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and high income countries (HICs). Costa Rica scored 13 out of a possible 15 points, followed by Colombia, Laos and Senegal (12) and Argentina, Lebanon, Papua New Guinea and Rwanda (11). Several high income countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Iceland and Norway scored zero points, while the EU member registered just one point. It was somewhat better news for the US, which scored six, while the UK achieved seven. NDCs will continue to be analysed in the months leading up to COP26, the UN climate negotiations in November.

- The World Federation of Public Health Associations published a Casebook on Advocacy in Public Health, which serves as a tool for national public health associations and other actors to improve their capacity of influence on national public health policies through advocacy efforts. The Casebook establishes what is public health advocacy and emphasizes the importance of advocacy as an essential public health function by bringing together 18 cases of public health advocacy from different corners of the world.

- A recent study published in Nature found that 37 percent of heat-related deaths are due to climate change. Dr. Renee Salas is seeing this in the emergency room of Massachusetts General Hospital, where she is treating more and more patients for heat-related illnesses like heat stroke and intensifying allergies. In an interview on a science podcast from National Public Radio (US) she gives a view into her work at the intersection of human health and climate change.

- The latest edition of the World Healthcare Journal makes an increasingly important point: the climate crisis is a human health crisis, outlining the health implications of climate change and what we can do about it.

- Researchers who studied 2,038 adults hospitalised with coronavirus in Detroit, one of America's most polluted cities, found those who required ventilators and intensive care were more likely to live in neighbourhoods with higher levels of air pollution and lead paint.
 

NEW MEMBERS

The health community joining GCHA keeps growing!


We are pleased to welcome the following new member:
 

- Justice Development & Peace Centre (Benin), @Beninjdpc

https://www.facebook.com/jdpcbenincity

 

GCHA membership is free and is open to health organizations.
 

Learn more about membership. 

Check out the GCHA website to see the rest of the amazing organizations that are members.

 
 

HEALTH VOICES

 

“We cannot just turn up the AC; we have to turn up our level of efforts fighting the underlying cause of our changing world — climate change.”Washington Governor Jay Inslee
 

Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency. So call 911 to get the person to the hospital immediately. (...) Now we need to mobilize against what's driving it (NB: the #heatdome): the climate emergency.” - Dr Melissa Lem, President of CAPE/ACME

 

“This was a true health crisis that has underscored how deadly an extreme heat wave can be, especially to otherwise vulnerable people.″ - Dr. Jennifer Vines, Multnomah County’s health officer 

 

Ambitious climate action is disease prevention at its best. Shuffling towards -55% will not get us over the 1.5 degrees finish line, we need to race instead”. - Anne Stauffer, Deputy Director, HEAL

 

“We have choices to make. And the quicker we make those choices, the better off we will all be. The future is in our hands.” - Prof. Katharine Hayhoe, Chief Scientist at the Nature Conservancy


MARK YOUR DIARY

 

Social Media Workshop, because every health voice matters

 

27 July at 08AM UTC and at 4PM UTC -  Free online social media workshop for #health professionals who want to develop their skills in using social media to advocate for action on climate & health. Learn how to use the power of your “voice” as a health professional, deploy hashtags for greater reach, and how to tag decision makers, peers, and influencers to put climate & health on the public agenda. 


No experience? No problem. We’ll send you instructions for creating your Twitter account, and you’ll post your very first tweet during the training.


Already a social media climate & health champ? Then recommend the training to two colleagues who might be interested.
 

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/regist


Hosted by GCHA in collaboration with board member the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change.

 

29 July Responding to the impact of Climate Change on Children, a webinar from the series Climate Change and Pediatrics, organized by International Society for Social Pediatrics and Child Health. In English and Spanish.

29 July Atmospheric Pollution, Climate Change and Health, a webinar organized by the Medical College of Chile, in Spanish

9 August - Publication of the IPCC AR 6 report (6th Assessment Report), outlining the latest UN scientific findings on climate change

19-22 August - 1st World Conference on Planetary Health by WONKA (online event)

7 September - International Day of Clean Air 2021 “Healthy Air, Healthy Planet”

24 September - Global Climate Strike #UprootTheSystem

Save the Date: November 6-7 - Global Climate and Health Conference on the margins of COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, convened by the World Health Organization, GCHA, the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, and other health partners.

 

*** The GCHA newsletter is now available in Spanish ***

 

Subscribe here if you wish to receive the Spanish version (scroll down to the bottom of the page and choose your option, you’ll need to unsubscribe from the English version if you don’t wish to receive both). 


GET MORE INVOLVED


Sign up for the Climate & Health Info List to exchange information amongst the health community about events, major announcements, resources and publications related to climate change and environmental health.

Health professionals are invited to sign up as a Climate and Health Champion, to receive advocacy alerts, policy & advocacy information, and tools, and to share updates about your advocacy efforts.

Health organizations are invited to become members of the Global Climate and Health Alliance.

Support what we do! GCHA works hard to elevate the voice of health professionals in national and international decision making on climate change, to protect our common future.

 

 

DONATE TODAY
 

 

 

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