Global environmental change: What can health care providers and the environmental health community do about it now?

TitleGlobal environmental change: What can health care providers and the environmental health community do about it now?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsSchwartz, BS, Parker, CL, Glass, TA, Hu, H
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Volume114
Issue12
Pagination1807 - 1812
Date Published2006
ISBN Number0091-6765
Keywordsbehavior change, Climate change, CLIMATE-CHANGE, FUTURE, health impacts, ICE-SHEET, MEDICAL CONSEQUENCES, NUCLEAR-WAR, PHYSICIANS, SEA-LEVEL RISE, THERMONUCLEAR WAR, VISION
Abstract

The debate about whether global environmental change is real is now over; in its wake is the realization that it is happening more rapidly than predicted. These changes constitute a profound challenge to human health, both as a direct threat and as a promoter of other risks. We call on health care providers to inform themselves about these issues and to become agents of change in their communities. It is our responsibility as clinicians to educate patients and their communities on the connections between regressive policies, unsustainable behaviors, global environmental changes, and threats to health and security. We call on professional organizations to assist in educating their members about these issues, in helping clinicians practice behavior change with their patients and in adding their voices to this issue in our statehouses and Congress. We call for the development of carbon- and other environmental-labeling of consumer products so individuals can make informed choices; we also call for the rapid implementation of policies that provide tangible economic incentives for choosing environmentally sustainable products and services. We urge the environmental health community to take up the challenge of developing a global environmental health index that will incorporate human health into available "planetary health" metrics and that can be used as a policy tool to evaluate the impact of interventions and document spatial and temporal shifts in the healthfulness of local areas. Finally, we urge our political, business, public health, and academic leaders to heed these environmental warnings and quickly develop regulatory and policy solutions so that the health of populations and the integrity of their environments will be ensured for Future generations.

Notes

PT: J; UT: ISI:000242500200023