Climate change demands prevention and everyone’s loudest voices
California is burning. Thousands of people have lost their homes and dozens have lost their lives. Every time we breathe in the smoke from these fires, we’re reminded that the natural disasters that have always shaped the places where we live–hurricanes in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, wildfires in the west—are exponentially fueled by unnatural causes.
Three weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, most of the island remains without power and many people lack access to safe drinking water. Puerto Ricans face shortages of food and medicine, and struggle to manage chronic diseases and fend off infectious ones. Gulf Coast communities hit hard by hurricanes Harvey and Irma continue to put their lives back together. Here too, the impact on human and community life was—and is—profound.
It’s well-established that climate change has made extreme weather events like the ones described above more frequent and more severe. Devastating weather events like this are becoming more common on our warming planet, and our most vulnerable communities live on the front lines of our changing climate and face the heaviest burden when disasters strike.
As an organization dedicated to prevention and health equity, Prevention Institute cannot be silent about the urgent need to take action against climate change as a key approach to prevent illness and injury. There has been important leadership on this issue, and we must all add our voices and amplify the efforts.
We must oppose our current national leadership’s efforts to roll back environmental protection measures like the Clean Power Plan, which, as many national health and medical organizations stated this week, “would have substantially reduced carbon pollution and other emissions from power plants, and prevented an estimated 90,000 pediatric asthma attacks and 3,600 premature deaths each year once fully implemented.”
And we must support cities and states that are leading on climate change to be able to take action in support of community health, equity, and wellbeing.
To become more informed about these issues, please see the resources on the right sidebar. We look forward to working with you to put prevention and health equity at the center of climate action.