Health Impacts of Climate Change Should Be a Key Issue in the Election February 3, 2020

At the Climate Crisis Parade in Des Moines, IA on Feb. 1. From left to right: David Drake, DO, president-elect of national PSR; John Rachow, MD, national board member and past president; Kelsey Noble, 4th year Des Moines University DO student and her husband, Matt, and sons Wyatt and Forest; and Maureen McCue, MD, former national board member and coordinator of PSR Iowa.

Now that the election season has begun, it’s critical to remember that one of the top issues voters say they care about is the climate crisis. From Des Moines to Tampa to Seattle, Americans are witnessing firsthand the fact that the climate crisis is a health emergency, and it’s already impacting communities around the country.

We must make climate a key issue in the election, because it’s about human health and survival. Scientists and researchers have shown we have about 10 years to enact bold, to-scale climate solutions to avert the worst potential impacts of the climate crisis. It is critical that all candidates make serious commitments to advance climate progress.

Right now, the climate health emergency needs to be dealt with in full-on triage mode. That’s why it’s so critical that health professionals like members of PSR are speaking out and demanding bold action. Among them: our chapter leaders and spokespeople in PSR Iowa. On February 1, members of PSR Iowa and PSR’s national board of directors participated in the Climate Crisis Parade in Des Moines.

On January 25, PSR Iowa hosted a presidential forum on the big issues of human health survival. In addition to global security, militarism and nuclear weapons, the forum also tackled environmental health and the climate crisis, focusing on topics such as “evolving global climate catastrophes” and “deepening environmental degradation and biosphere collapse.”

These global issues pose a grave threat to human health and survival. It is critical that health professionals call on elected officials and candidates to address these issues. And it is just as critical that elected officials and potential future officials listen.

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