American Medical Association Declares Climate Change a Public Health Crisis
Doctors with the American Medical Association adopted a new policy during their annual conference, advocating for practices that limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. That’s the same internationally agreed-upon goal of the Paris Climate Agreement.
“The scientific evidence is clear – our patients are already facing adverse health effects associated with climate change, from heat-related injuries, vector-borne diseases and air pollution from wildfires, to worsening seasonal allergies and storm-related illness and injuries. Like the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis will disproportionately impact the health of historically marginalised communities,” said AMA Board Member Ilse R. Levin, D.O., M.P.H. “Taking action now won’t reverse all of the harm done, but it will help prevent further damage to our planet and our patients’ health and well-being.
Extreme weather like floods and wildfires can impact access to healthcare and medication. Poor air quality from heat and pollution impacts our most vulnerable people, those with pre-existing illnesses, children, and the elderly.
The increasing frequency of extreme weather is also impacting mental health, leaving little room for people to cope with stress and loss in between disasters.
According to the latest IPCC reports, “Approximately 20–30% of those who live through a hurricane develop depression and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) within the first few months following the event, with similar rates for people who have experienced flooding.”
Climate Central reports up to 54% of adults and 45% of children to suffer depression after a disaster, according to the American Public Health Association.
Source: Queen City News