Call to Action on Climate and Health
TEXAS PHYSICIANS AND OTHER HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS SUPPORT ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
As Texas physicians and healthcare professionals, we the undersigned call on members of the Texas Congressional Delegation to recognize climate change as a health emergency and to work with government agencies and our local communities and businesses to prioritize action to address how climate change is already impacting public health.
CALL TO ACTION
We call on the Texas Congressional Delegation to lead Congress in recognizing climate change as a health emergency and to prioritize the actions in this Climate and Health Policy Call to Action. Building healthy energy, transportation, land use, and agriculture systems now will deliver immediate and sustained health benefits to all and reduce future health risks from climate change.
Climate Action For Health should include the following actions:
- Meet and strengthen the commitments the U.S. made under the Paris Climate Agreement.
- Transition rapidly away from the use of coal, oil and natural gas to clean, safe, and renewable energy and energy efficiency.
- Co-sponsor one or more of the bills filed in the past few weeks by both Democrats and Republicans on climate that are aimed at achieving zero-net emissions by 2050.
- Support and improve infrastructure to encourage active transportation plans, including more and better options for walking and biking, and incentivize cleaner alternatives like public transit and carpooling, in the transition to zero-carbon transportation systems.
- Promote healthy, sustainable, and resilient farms and food systems, forests, and natural lands.
- Ensure that all U.S. residents have access to safe and affordable drinking water and a sustainable water supply.
- Invest in policies that support a just transition for workers and communities adversely impacted by climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy.
It is past time for our political leaders to recognize climate change as a public health emergency. Finding ways to mitigate climate change and its negative effects should be a top priority, and action needs to start now.
TEXAS PHYSICIANS AND OTHER HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS SUPPORTING ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE:
Trish O'Day, MSN, RN
Laurie Seremetis, MD, MPAff
Donald Williams, MD
Naomi Hanser, MD
Sarmila Bhatta, DNP, FNP-C
Mike Stefanowicz, MD
Stanley Reiser, MD, MPA, PhD
Hasan Seede, Medical Student
Mary Ann Gonzales, MD
Steven Inano, MD
Stephen McKee, MSSW
Margaret Kini, MD
Elliot Trester, MD
Kumar Pandian, MD
Amina Haji, MD
Roseanna Jackson-Parekh, MD
Heather Falvo, MD
Lori Wright, PhD
Felix Hull, MD
Lamia Kadir, MD
Kim Rowlands, MD
Daniel Hochman, MD
Lara Hochman, MD
Rania Milleron, PhD
Amanda Horton, MD
Sean Liu, Medical Student
Teri Newsom,MS,RN,Adult NP-C,PMHNP-BC
Daniel Bland, Medical Student
Amanda Boornazian, Medical Student
Carolyn Vanek, Medical Student
Sabitha Rajanm, MD, MSc
Bharath Ram, Medical Student
David Wright, MD
Sarah Gee, MD
Sapna Bhagat, MD
Nichelle Haynes, DO
Anna Vu, MD
Lauren Crawford, MD
Kimberly Carter, MD, MPP
Jubilee Barton, MD
Xiao Yun Wang, MD
Beth Belk, DPT
Melissa Thoreson, MD
Bill Carville, RN, CRRN
ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORTING ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE:
Sustainable Energy & Economic Development (SEED) Coalition
- The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2018
- Dr. Matthew McCurdy, in an op-ed published by the Houston Chronicle, 2018
- Paris Climate Agreement
- Energy, Climate Change and Health
- World Health Organization COP24 Special Report: Health & Climate Change
- Fourth National Climate Assessment: Human Health
- The 2018 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: shaping the health of nations for centuries to come
- Medical Alert! Climate Change Is Harming Our Health
- APHA Climate-Health Fact Sheets
- Climate Changes Children’s Health
- Primary Protection: Enhancing Health Care Resilience for a Changing Climate
- Climate Change - A Health Emergency
- A Physician’s Guide to Climate Change, Health and Equity
- Climate Changes Mental Health
- Food and Agriculture, Climate Change and Health
- Climate Health Action Resources
BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR URGENT ACTION
Climate change poses one of the greatest threats to human health in our lifetimes. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has repeatedly issued warnings about the significant consequences of global warming. As they and the vast majority of climate scientists around the world have stated, urgent actions are needed now to curb the rise in global temperatures and to prevent ecological, public health and other societal catastrophes.¹
In Texas, we are already feeling the effects of increasing temperatures and climate-related emergencies. In the coming years, Texans will experience rising seas, retreating shorelines, more coastal storms like Hurricane Harvey, rainstorms and tornadoes, increasing wildfires, more frequent and severe droughts, and worsening air pollution leading to premature death from heart and lung disease.²
As physicians and healthcare professionals, we see the impacts of climate change first-hand:
- Climate change affects every aspect of what we do. It impedes our ability to care for patients and causes health crises where none previously existed.
- Our ER physicians are the front-line doctors for climate change – they are the ones who have to care for folks when climate disasters occur such as hurricanes, tornados, flooding and wildfires.
- Our primary care physicians and cardiologists have to deal with increased and worsening heart disease due to ozone action days and increased heat.
- Psychiatrists have to deal with fatalism and depression that occurs with the increasingly frequent and severe natural disasters.
- We all struggle to care for patients affected by increasing pandemics and other health crises including but not limited to intensified outbreaks of tropical diseases like Zika and West Nile virus.