Reposted from Vancouver Observer:
“Climate change is the biggest public health threat of the 21st century. The Lancet said it first in 2009. Since then, British Medical Journal, the Canadian Medical Association Journal the Journal of the American Medical Association, and others have urged MDs to take action to treat and prevent the increases in heat-related illness, air-pollution-related problems and mental and stress-related disorders that have been predicted.
Unfortunately, climate change wasn’t well covered in medical school—so as a group, physicians have been slow off the mark in responding to the climate crisis. As with all of medicine’s most profound issues, however—we have the blessing of the best teachers of all—our patients.
Remarkably, our patients have recently been putting on a clinic on climate and community health in the most unlikely of locations– up Burnaby Mountain. They stood up for the health of the planet and the people whose lives depend on it. They stood in recognition of the right of communities to set aside conservation areas where people can enjoy the well-documented health benefits of exercise and the contemplation of nature. They stood for the idea that the health of children is as important as the health of today’s ruling generation.
As doctors, we have been inspired. The medical literature has been telling us that we must attend to this Code Green outside of the hospital with all the urgency we would lend to a Code Blue within it. And now our patients have done just that.
In thanks, let us now add our voices to the climate-health efforts with three major reasons for hope:
1-Tackling climate change will have substantial health benefits.
A transition to clean energy and carbon pricing will decrease emissions as well as the costs and health impacts of air pollution, which is currently responsible for 1 in 8 deaths worldwide. Active commuting will help decrease chronic disease. Distributed renewable energy generation and local food will create jobs, reduce poverty (and its indisputable effect on health), and help make our society more resilient to adverse weather events.
2-Treatment is possible….” Read on