Climate Change: It’s About Health | Kaiser Permanente


[Music] The Napa-Sonoma fire not only did it impact people’s lives, it impacted the entire environment around us. It demonstrated what can happen very quickly to an entire community and that is an experience that we just don’t want to see going on around the country and around the world. Climate change is here. It’s happening. It’s real. All we have to do is look around at the weather phenomenon. We’re constantly setting records across the globe for hottest days, hottest years, hottest average temperatures. It’s impacting all of us. It’s hard to imagine a dimension of human health that climate change doesn’t touch. It deepens poverty. It threatens our food and water supply. It tears people from their homes. It makes large parts of the world uninhabitable. If you care about climate change, you have to care about health. And if you care about health, you have to care about climate change. As a pediatrician, my job is not only to take care of the children that I’m seeing in my practice, but also to advocate for a healthy environment for the children I’m taking care of. The health effects of climate change disproportionately affect children, people of color, people living in poverty, the elderly, people living with chronic disease. And as climate change worsens, the health outcomes caused by climate change in these populations will worsen as well. There’s been a coalition of hospital systems all around the world working to address the environmental footprint, especially the climate footprint of health care, so that the mission of health care is actually expanding to go beyond treating individual patients to supporting healthier communities and healthier planet. I think this is where we have a real opportunity of creating public private partnerships and it’s that synergy that I think will help us to really get at this problem and work on it together towards resolution. I truly believe that if our policymakers and the public were able to understand better that climate change is an urgent human health issue, we’d be able to get to where we need to be to act on climate as a society. We need to take steps because this is impacting all of our health. Not everybody cares about energy. Not everybody cares about climate change. But everybody cares about health – it’s personal. Climate change is fundamentally a global health issue. It’s about health. It’s all about health. It’s about health. And we have the power to change the dynamic to advocate for health on behalf of all people. [Music]

Daniel Yohans

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