US Climate and Health Alliance

Advocating for Health in a Warming World: A Health Advocate’s Perspective


Health advocacy is an exercise in compassion, driven by concerns for all people, a concern that is as essential in the policy debates as health science, if we are serious about addressing climate change. Martin Luther King famously said, ‘‘The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.’’19 But the problem with climate change is that a long slow bend won’t do. Maybe we’ll have a slow bend toward toxics protections—and the damage to children’s brains and men’s sperm counts and women’s breast milk will have to affect more generations and more individuals and cost us more as a society before we take action. Damaged and diminished, humanity will survive. Not so with climate and health. In climate work, a long slow bend toward justice spells catastrophe. In bringing health advocacy to climate change policy, we cannot work slowly.

Resource Type
Rebecca Ruggles
Resource URL
Health Security
Number 2, 2016
Health and Human Impacts
Overview/general Respiratory disease
Climate and Environmental Impacts
Air pollution Overview/general
Public health/health sector response
Climate and environmental justice/health equity Social determinants of health Vulnerable populations

Resources main page