Search below for resources covering the intersection of climate engagement, social science and data analytics.
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The latest Lancet Countdown report underscores the imperative for a health-centered response in a world facing irreversible harms. Public and political engagement on health and climate change continued its upward trend across 2022, reaching the highest recorded level of engagement among government leaders and companies signed up to the UN sustainability charter, while maintaining recent higher engagement in global newspapers. Individual engagement with health and climate change remained low in 2022; of all click views that led to health-related articles, only 0.03% came from climate change-related articles, and only 0.36% of click views that led to climate change-related articles came from health-related article. Corporate sector engagement with health and climate change reached its highest recorded level In 2022, with 38% of companies referring to the health dimensions of climate change. tweets mentioning the health co-benefits of climate change action reached a record of 22% of all monthly tweets from international organizations in November 2022, in a continuously upward trend. 50% of countries mentioned the intersection of health and climate change at the UN General Debate in 2022, a 10% decrease from 2021; 95% of updated NDC documents refer to health, an increase from 73% in the first submission.
Climate change has significant impacts on health outcomes, and health professionals are uniquely positioned to leverage their voice as trusted messengers to engage their colleagues, patients, and communities to take action and shift the public conversation on climate and health.
Gendered and Racial Impacts of the Fossil Fuel Industry in North America and Complicit Financial Institutions
This report finds an indisputable connection between the fossil fuel industry’s practices and negative impacts to African American/Black/ African Diaspora, Indigenous, Latina/Chicana, and low-income women’s health, safety, and human rights in the U.S. and parts of Canada. Specifically, fossil fuel-derived air, water, and soil pollution impact women’s fertility, mental health, and daily work and responsibilities. The negative effects from fossil fuel activity—including extraction, storage and transportation of coal, oil, and gas often in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG)—stem from direct pollution of communities by fossil fuel companies’ contributions to industrial carbon dioxide and methane. The climate crisis does not and will not affect everyone equally, as factors such as gender, race, and socio-economic status make certain communities significantly more vulnerable to the increasing threats of climate change. Global inequalities, rooted in structural patriarchy, colonialism, white supremacy, and capitalism, continue to place people of the global majority, and specifically women, at risk.
Americans widely believe that climate action will benefit people’s health and make the country stronger, but tend to say that those around them aren’t as concerned about climate change as they are. 89% of Americans agree that clean air and water are critical rights for all people. 86% of Americans agree that everyone has a right to clean energy that does not pollute the air or water. 85% of Americans agree that we have a moral responsibility to create a safe and healthy climate for ourselves and our children. 75% of Americans agree that the government needs to protect people from the impacts of extreme weather. 74% of Americans agree that they can help reduce the pollution that is causing climate change. 73% of Americans agree that investing in solutions to climate change will benefit American communities and make our country stronger. 69% of Americans say that it would improve people’s health if the United States took steps to deal with climate change. 65% of Americans say that they will vote for leaders who will prioritize climate change solutions.
The climate movement has lessons for all social impact practitioners working to create a more just and healthy world. While the climate and mental health movements are getting increased attention separately, a small set of leaders working across these movements are prioritizing and integrating mental health and climate advocacy as a unified effort. From climate scientists to psychologists, these actors are creating bi-directional efforts that serve both causes. Importantly, they see these two global crises as inextricably linked, highlighting that people across these movements must integrate these fields of practice rather than working in silos. Beyond prioritizing mental health education and interventions in our initiatives, social impact practitioners across all areas often face personal challenges as we dedicate our time and energy to witnessing and mitigating the world’s inequities. In recent years, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have heard repeated calls for self-care in the face of what can be exhausting and painful work.
The effects of climate change on public health couldn’t be clearer. The 10 hottest years on record have all occurred since 2010. In fact, 2022 marked the eighth year in a row that average global temperatures were 34 degrees higher than pre-industrial (1850-1900) average temperatures. Rising sea levels, compromised air and water quality, and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events all speak to the stark reality that the climate is changing. Drought and excessive rainfall offer stark examples of how climate change affects public health. This can lead to rising prices, which can exacerbate food insecurity and lead to malnutrition. Air pollution can cause temporary irritation to the eyes and respiratory tract and trigger asthma attacks. However, air pollution can have much longer-lasting health effects as well: Once in the bloodstream, these harmful substances can circulate through the whole body, causing inflammation, suppressing the immune system, and disrupting the ability of biological systems to detoxify. Severe storms, such as hurricanes and blizzards, pose immediate dangers to affected communities. Compared to an average of two heat waves occurring every year in the 1960s, today, an average of six occur every year. Education, preparation and monitoring, identification and monitoring, and climate adaptation and resilience plans are key to responding to climate public health threats.
Voters want to see stronger clean air standards from the EPA, with annual and daily soot limits that meet the recommendations of the EPA’s scientific advisors. Voters reject the argument that stricter standards would hurt the economy and drive up energy prices. By a 74%-16% margin, voters support the EPA updating air pollution standards by placing stricter limits on soot. After learning that the EPA’s proposed new soot standards are not as strict as the standards recommended by the EPA’s scientific advisors, voters support moving to the stricter standards recommended by the EPA’s scientific advisors by a 65%-20% margin.
Using this wheel can help people identify their emotions regarding the climate crisis—and work with them. Emotions wheels have been a visual tool used by psychologists for decades to help people better understand and interpret their own feelings. This Climate Emotions Wheel is based on the research of Panu Pihkala at the University of Helsinki and particularly his 2022 paper Toward A Taxonomy of Climate Emotions. It is not intended to be comprehensive or definitive, and it is not to scale; positive emotions are not typically identified in most research as often as other emotions on this scale.
Discussing the health impacts of climate change is a critical approach for furthering medicine’s mission—to improve health and accelerate equity. Health professionals are increasingly learning how climate change is harming their patients’ health. And, unsurprisingly, most respondents to a 2020 multinational survey felt a responsibility to educate the public and policy makers. In most nations “left” or “right” political ideology is a weak predictor of support for climate taxes or laws. Health professionals can contribute to collective action by reflecting and building on the existing consensus on climate change.
Historic Environmental Justice Victory: City of Los Angeles is creating a pathway to phase out existing oil and gas wells
Residents, community organizations, and health care practitioners organized for over a decade to protect the health of residents on the front lines of urban oil extraction in L.A. In January 2022, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to draft an ordinance to prohibit all new oil and gas drilling and to phase out existing drilling operations throughout the City of Los Angeles. This resource is based on an interview with Wendy Miranda (she/they), a community leader with Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) and resident, about the historic victory. The organizing strategy to get this victory involved various lobbying efforts, rallies, press conferences, petition collections, a wide range of community/organization endorsements, phone banking, and social media outreach. Overall, frontline residents providing public comments and sharing their personal experiences were some of the strongest and most powerful tactics. STAND L.A. will continue to be part of the process to help draft an ordinance and direct the City of Los Angeles on how to lead a genuine community participation process. Miranda shares that this victory is proof that frontline communities can lead the change toward a just, equitable transition to a clean energy future.
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