New Study Shows Deep Impact Of Climate Change On Human Health

Our visual narratives of climate change have, historically, been replete with spectacular images of fire and flood. But the blood orange skies that loomed over San Francisco in early September—precipitated by a freak lightning storm that set regions surrounding the Bay Area ablaze—were what captured the popular imagination this year, at least in the United States. Photographs of the phenomenon, mundane otherwise, paint an ominous portrait of what awaits our warming world—more disaster, yes, but also warpings of everyday life as we know it.

What’s at stake isn’t just the blueness of skies, but centuries of progress in human health that have allowed us to pursue longer, more active, and overall more fulfilling lives. To drive this home, a new report published by The Lancet Countdown, an interdisciplinary collaboration between 120 experts and 35 institutions, uses rigorous data collection and analysis to connect the dots between the well-being of our planet and ourselves. More than a compendium of stats, the report is a call to action for health professionals and policymakers the world over. If we want to retain the gains and livelihoods we’ve made as a species, it argues, we must recognize and mitigate the losses we’ve wrought on the natural world.

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Originally published on Forbes (December 8, 2020)

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.