Women’s Environment & Development Organization, 2017
Last weekend, following President Trump’s inauguration, people all over the world came together en masse to support human rights and human dignity, donning pink hats, cardboard signs, and colorful language. Many participating in Saturday’s Women’s March linked the protection of the planet to the protection of health and human rights.
It is increasingly clear that we – as professionals, individuals, and communities that care about the current and future health of our people and planet – will need to fight like never before to preserve and promote health and equity in the era of climate change and Trump.
The Guardian, 2016
Last week the White House website was scrubbed of all information about climate change, leaving only President Trump’s commitment “to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan”. Yesterday, news sources reported on the abrupt cancellation of the first-ever Climate and Health Summit sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scheduled for February, stating they would look to reschedule at a later date in 2017.
Last Wednesday, January 18, 2017, NASA reported that 2016 marks “ the third year in a row to set a new record for global average surface temperatures;” 16 of the hottest 17 years on record have occurred since 2001. This obvious and dangerous trend necessitates a strong and bold public health and health care response to climate change. This includes the need for strong public health leadership at every level of government to protect the health of all Americans, particularly the most vulnerable, against the health impacts of climate change.
While the Trump administration appears determined to dismantle and undermine any and all progress made over the last 8 years, health professionals, local businesses, and front line communities are determined to maintain progress through resistance. Health professionals across the country are taking action on behalf of their communities: Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment in partnership with the Outdoor Industry for Clean Air sent a letter to the Utah state legislature and Governor, urging them to take substantive action to address air quality, and the health and business impacts.
Swindon Climate Action Network (SCAN), 2014
Minnesota’s Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate (HPHC) completed it’s third annual letter to Minnesota’s state legislature on January 11th, 2017, urging them to build on the “recent progress in reducing carbon emissions and pollution,” acknowledge and address “the dangers of natural gas as a bridging fuel,” and imploring them ”to protect [the] most vulnerable communities from the impacts of [the] changing environment.”
Health professionals and community organizations are engaged in broad efforts to support climate action for health, however given Trump’s America First Energy Plan, we need stronger, unified, and sustained efforts to battle through the next four years.
The US Climate and Health Alliance Policy Workgroup recently launched a collaborative project, tentatively called the Climate and Health Awareness Project for State Legislatures based on the HPHC annual letter campaign and similar efforts across the nation. The US Climate and Health Alliance is hosting a Policy Workgroup meeting to strategize around this project on February 1st, 11-12PM PST. Please visit the USCHA Events page for details.
Together we can resist this administration’s harmful policies and fight for a healthier, more just, resilient planet.