Declaring climate change to be the greatest public health challenge we are facing today, the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) Science Board has designated 2017 as the Year of Climate Change and Health.
Beginning with the February 16 Climate & Health Meeting, hosted by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, APHA is planning a number of activities highlighting the health and social justice issues around climate change. On February 27, the organization will host a webinar titled Climate Justice Changes Health: Local, Tribal, Global and Generational. Subsequent months will feature education about themes such as clean energy, transportation and healthy community design, agriculture and food safety and security, and water quality.
You can follow and participate in online conversations surrounding these topics using the hashtag #ClimateChangesHealth. Efforts related to the environment and public health throughout this upcoming year will culminate in the APHA’s 2017 Meeting and Expo: “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Climate Changes Health.”
This effort is not new to APHA. In 2016, the organization’s webinar series reviewed the links between climate change and allergies, asthma, children’s health, and mental health.
Advocacy via Social Media
Whether you are a concerned physician or a public health advocate, many opportunities to get involved await you in this toolkit created by the APHA. For social media gurus and first-time users alike, the toolkit makes social media avenues for advocacy accessible to everyone. It offers templates for posts and a variety of other suggestions. The APHA will be coming out with new advocacy toolkits regularly throughout the year.
Actions You Can Take
APHA also provides information on how organizations and institutions can partner to address climate change. Their website lists solutions ranging from eating locally-grown produce to hosting an educational meeting like Clean Air Carolina’s NC BREATHE conference.
To see how APHA member institutions are working to build climate resilience, view the Adaptation in Action report.
Contributed by: April Oo, MAHA intern