How Tech Tools Can Help Communities Address the Health Impacts of Climate Change
Two weeks ago, President Obama announced an initiative to address the public health impacts of climate change. This challenge will involve not only the health sector, but other sectors as well. In the article below, Linda Rudolph, Director of the Public Health Institute’s Center for Climate Change and Health, explains how harnessing data can help create effective climate solutions. Tech companies like Google and Microsoft have the ability to track and map vital information like weather patterns, pollution levels, and global temperatures, which can then be used to empower communities to respond.
As Rudolph points out, kicking our unhealthy fossil-fuel addiction will require a major transformation in our energy, land use, and transportation systems. By sharing data and working together, the business, health, and community sectors can turn this challenge into an opportunity, and create a healthier environment for us all.
By Linda Rudolph, MD, MPH
Last week I joined a panel of experts at the White House as part of President Obama’s newly announced actions to protect communities from the health impacts of climate change. His actions couldn’t have come sooner.
Climate change threatens the air, water, food, shelter and security on which human life depends. As Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has noted, climate change’s devastating impacts on health range from heat illnesses to dengue fever to food and water-borne illnesses. In the coming decades, climate change will be responsible for an additional 250,000 deaths per year globally from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress, and will cost $2-4 billion/year by 2030.
In my home state of California, the drought has already left families without tap water to drink or prepare their food, tens of thousands out of work, and increased food insecurity due to rising food prices. These are climate change issues, and they are health issues. And they are having the most impact on already vulnerable and impoverished communities.