Shedding light on climate change’s threats to health

Gina McCarthy wants to get the word out that climate change is more than just “a distant issue”—that it’s a very real threat to public health right now.

In a wide-ranging March 21, 2019 interview with Medscape, McCarthy, director of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE) at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, outlined the various ways that climate change is harming the health of people and the planet.

Issues McCarthy discussed included the spread of infectious diseases, spurred by disease-carrying insects moving into new areas; increased disease and death from air pollution, caused by the burning of fossil fuels; death, migration, and mental distress caused by weather disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires; and the loss of nutrients in staple crops such as wheat and rice that are grown in high levels of CO2.

“I want people to know that climate change is a threat to them today,” McCarthy said. “I also want them to know that we have solutions, so we can turn this challenge into a real opportunity to advance health today while we’re protecting the planet. That’s the whole ball of wax.”

Listen to the Medscape interview: Gina McCarthy Is Fired Up About Climate Change and the Public Health

Learn more

Report: Climate change is biggest global health threat (Harvard Chan School news)

Climate change and health (Harvard Chan School podcast series)