Preparing for the Health Impacts of a Changing Climate

Gregory D. Kearney
2020 North Carolina Medical Journal  
Over the past century, anthropogenic activities have resulted in high levels of greenhouse gases in our environment, creating a warming effect on the Earth. As a result, global temperatures have risen, shifting climatic zones, influencing weather patterns, and intensifying storms. These changes include heavy precipitation, drought, wildfires, hurricanes, heat waves, and coastal flooding. The impacts from this climatic activity continue to contribute negatively to our environment while
more » ... ent while influencing human health.In this special issue of the North Carolina Medical Journal, authors from universities, governmental agencies, and not-for-profit organizations address how the global impacts of climate change are affecting the health of communities across our beautiful state. This issue offers our readers research and real-life stories that underscore the need for keeping the issue of climate change at the forefront of public health for North Carolina. The information provided in these articles gives policymakers and health care providers a deeper understanding of the public health implications and challenges of climate change while highlighting the health risks to our most susceptible populations.Because there are no direct clinical symptoms or signs, the effects of climate change are difficult to assess at the individual level. However, an abundance of peer-reviewed climate health research studies provides overwhelming scientific evidence that climate change is impacting population health with generalizable results. Mitigation and adaptability strategies are necessary for reducing carbon emissions and building climate-resilient communities. Policymakers and health care providers are in key positions for educating others, helping protect our planet, improving health outcomes, and moving North Carolina toward more sustainable solutions.
doi:10.18043/ncm.81.5.301 pmid:32900889 fatcat:bdgxq4rivbec3cehtvnr3fwbhi