Graham Sustainability Institute

Climate Changes Health: A Summit Proceeding Report, October 2018

October 2018

Leading public health organizations, including the American Public Health Association (APHA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization, all consider climate change among the most significant contemporary threats to public healthLongtime efforts of environmental justice (EJ) leaders and scholars clearly document patterns of cumulative environmental exposure and adverse health outcomes by race and income that are exacerbated by climate change. Given public health’s commitment to health equity and social justice, attention to EJ must be central in public health’s climate-related work.

Understanding climate change’s disproportionate threats to health and recognizing existing efforts to address these threats, the APHA Environment Section’s EJ Subcommittee and national EJ leaders planned a pre-conference summit at the 2017 APHA Annual Meeting— Climate Changes Health: Ensuring Environmental Justice Underlies Public Health’s Climate Change Work. This report is a synthesis of what the planning team learned at the summit alongside participants. Similar to the summit, the report brings together local and scientific experts, and builds from cross-pollination across disciplines, sectors, and communities. The report is written for diverse audiences, including EJ leaders, local planners, public health professionals, as well as those in other related sectors, and students of public health, EJ, and climate change. It shares important lessons, resources, and recommendations to advance climate justice and public health in the following areas:

  • Climate Justice as a Public Health Issue
  • Frontline Community Perspectives
  • Climate Policy Needs
  • The Role of Youth and Intergenerational Learning
  • Needed Shifts in Climate Justice Funding
  • Strategies to Improve Public Health's Efforts 
  • Resources & Toolkits