In the Toolkit --

Introduction

  • Guide to the Toolkit
  • Share Your Comments
  • I. Choosing a Role for Your League

    II. Grassroots Action Priorities

  • Clean Air Defense
  • Energy Efficient Buildings
  • Renewable Energy
  • III. Basics of Climate Change

    IV. Engaging Individuals

  • Communicating About Climate Change
  • Preparing for a Meeting on Climate Change
  • Engaging Groups in Your Community
  • V. Promoting Public Policy

  • Community Action Models
  • Organizing For Community Action
  • Tips for Building Grassroots Support
  • League Action on Climate Change
  • International Action
  • VI. Resources

    ENGAGING THE HEALTH COMMUNITY

    Making a Connection

    Climate change poses a serious threat to human health. Increased health risks include heat stress, pest and waterborne diseases, air and water pollution, and death and injury from extreme weather events. Children, the poor, and the elderly are the most vulnerable to climate-related health impacts. It is likely, therefore, that many health care professionals will be interested in getting involved in some kind of climate-related effort.

    Here are some ideas of ways to connect with your health community.

    Understanding Your Audience

    This is the first generation of medical professionals to have come of age hearing about the human influence on planetary warming, but their level of engagement with climate issues is mixed. Just as in the larger population, there will be a diversity of opinion on the subject that should be taken into consideration. (Review the Communications section of this toolkit for background and ideas.)

    Getting Your Audience's Attention

    Many health professionals look to their colleagues for credible and up-to-date information about the health threats posed by climate change. Engage with well-respected health professionals and see if they would be willing to speak at a state or regional medical association meeting about the effects of climate change on human health.

    It also can help to zero in on the specific climate-related health risks projected for your community and for your part of the country. Two helpful resources:

    Here are some sample programs for this audience:

    Making Change Easier

    Well-designed response and control programs, together with adequate financial and human public health resources, can help prevent many of the diseases and health problems that would otherwise worsen with climate change. Some cities and states have developed such programs, which can serve as models for others.

    Weather advisories, for example, can alert the public to dangerous heat conditions, and public cooling places and other outreach services can help vulnerable populations cope. Urban tree planting can help moderate temperature increases, and air quality alert programs can encourage residents to reduce air pollutant emissions on high ozone days. (See Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States for details.)

    EPA's Excessive Heat Events Guidebook is another useful resource, designed to help community officials and others plan for, and respond to, excessive heat events.