Basics of Climate and Health and How They Are Connected
Getting Started (10-15 min)
Welcome to Session 1 of the “Climate Is Health” series. This week we are focused on how climate and health are connected. Our Guest Speaker is Gina McCarthy, an American environmental health and air quality expert. Gina served as the 13th Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and was a Professor of Public Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and former Director of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE).
Key concepts this week include climate change, public health, and food systems.
| 💡 If you have time, take a moment to reflect before starting with the session and answer the following questions in a notebook:
Guest Speaker (10 min)
Explore in Depth (10-30 min)
The American Public Health Association (APHA) provides flow charts of the impacts on health from air quality, extreme weather, rising temperatures, and vector-borne diseases.
Annually this report gives a comprehensive analysis tracking the impact of climate change on human health across 41 indicators around the world. Read the key takeaways for the United States briefing.
Patients are becoming the human faces of the climate crisis, as recognition of its health harm grows.
Explore the impact of a warming planet on health and health care.
While others may not be talking about the ways climate and health are connected, Gina McCarthy is passionate about educating others on these issues.
Resources from Harvard Chan C-CHANGE showing how climate solutions and transitioning to clean energy protects children from dangerous pollutants and helps them live healthier lives today and in the future.
Reflect and Discuss (10-30 min)
- Can you think of an example in your own life of the way that your health is impacted by changes in climate? Discuss or reflect.
- List five ways that the impacts of climate change are being felt now. How could each of those things impact human health?
- Focus on food, which is essential for good health. How does your food supply impact the climate and how is it impacted by climate?
Case Study (30-60 min)
Explore what makes the above case study a successful example of a public health group establishing and sharing the links between climate and health.
- What inspires you about this story?
- What allowed them to be successful?
- What challenges were faced and overcome in this case study?
- What connections does this case study have to your own community?
- What questions do you have?
- Counterargument: Conditions are deteriorating so quickly in many parts of Alaska that we should be spending federal dollars to resettle affected communities, rather than focusing on adaptation.
- Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Whether you personally agree or disagree, how would you refute it?
Take Action (30-60 min)
Don’t forget to post your ideas and learning journeys on social media with the tag #climateishealth and @HarvardCCHANGE, and email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you have.
Download full content PDF – Climate Is Health – Session 1