A short and bizarre video funded by taxpayers features John Iskander, MD, MPH and George Luber, PhD of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discussing the health impacts of climate change.
Luber, who holds the title of Associate Director for Climate Change in the Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects and is a “lead author” for the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, explains that not only are there physical repercussions of global warming, but there are impacts on mental health, as well.
The little-viewed video was posted at the CDC website on December 19 and fits in nicely with the White House initiative encouraging “healthcare providers to get serious about bulking up their defenses against climate change,” as reported at the Hill last month.
The fact sheet can be found here, and explains in part,
As part of the President’s Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) created the Sustainable and Climate Resilient Health Care Facilities Initiative to develop tools and information to help health care facilities prepare for the impacts of climate change and increase their resilience.
The impacts of climate change on health are “varied,” according to Luber, and “range from the direct effects of extreme weather events” to indirect effects based on changes on ecosystems, which will “profoundly” impact where existing diseases are found. Iskander chimed in with examples, like “ozone increasing asthma attacks” and a “spread of certain types of agents that spread infectious diseases.”
Luber noted that “mental health and sense of well-being” can also be affected by climate change.
“If you live in a world with a degraded environment,” Luber explains, “perhaps you are less optimistic about the future. We call this the ‘anticipatory mental health impact’ – living in a world where the future prospects are quite dim in regards of reading extreme climate projections is shown to have an impact on younger kids…”
In order to combat these ill effects, the “public health community” can help by using the CDC’s “adaptation plans for the public health sector.” One example Luber cites is that although the northeast is not currently experiencing sustained heatwaves which will negatively impact health, the public health sector is developing plans in anticipation of future ill effects of global warming.
If only the federal government would be so proactive with the nation’s debt.
George Luber is a featured speaker at many events. One that stands out is his 2013 appearance at the Sustainable Atlanta Roundtable, which is sponsored by SouthFace. During the
Agenda 21 meeting, Luber suggested that the dialogue surrounding climate change needed to be “reframed” so that people understand that climate change is not just about polar bear habitats.
A summary of the meeting can be found here and says in part:
Almost every angle of climate change eventually affects human health, even faraway ice loss…Publicizing these public health risks can not only convey the urgency of climate change to a wider swath of people, Luber says, but it can foster more targeted, localized plans for adapting to a warmer world.
Watch the video here: