How Cutting Carbon Pollution Will Help Protect America’s Most Vulnerable Populations
In Obama’s Earth Day speech from Everglades National Park, he described how unique and precious that region is – and how vulnerable it is to climate threats. But as Dr. Cheryl L. Holder explains in this article, the Everglades aren’t the only precious resource at risk. Thousands of low-income residents are feeling the health impacts of higher temperatures, extreme weather, and rising seas. This is true not just in south Florida but across the nation – Hispanic/Latino American and African American populations are disproportionately affected by climate change, even though their carbon footprints may be smaller.
Dr. Holder is president of the Florida State Medical Association, the state society of the National Medical Association (one of our Climate for Health partners). Health professionals throughout the country have been noticing the effects of climate change on their patients and urging government officials to take action. Dr. Holder points out that the majority of Floridians favor investing in clean energy and placing restrictions on carbon pollution – and she calls on state officials to step up, for the health of their constituents as well as their economy.
By Cheryl L. Holder
President Obama visited Florida this week to highlight the impact of climate change on one of our most vulnerable natural resources, the precious Everglades.
There’s another climate impact that deserves equal attention. It’s the impact on our most vulnerable human resource, the tens of thousands of low-income Floridians whose health and economic livelihood are particularly at risk from changes in the climate.
The Florida State Medical Association, the state society of the National Medical Association, is concerned about this because too many of our physicians see the harmful effects of carbon pollution and climate change on our patients’ health.
According to a survey conducted last year by George Mason University and the National Medical Association — the leading voice for African-American physicians in the United States — 88 percent of doctors said that climate change is relevant to patient care and 61 percent say that climate change is already having moderate to severe effects on their patients.