Viewpoint: Encouraging health professionals’ civic engagement to address health impact of climate crisis

Health professionals who want to address the effects of the climate crisis on the health of people and the planet should become more civically engaged around issues such as voter registration, the 2020 Census, and partisan gerrymandering, according to a new Viewpoint piece by Nancy Krieger, professor of social epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, published January 21, 2020 in the Journal of Public Health Policy.

She wrote that tactics such as voter suppression and underfunding the U.S. Census—which uses population counts to determine voting districts and allocate resources—are being used to “change the rules of the game.” This affects who is elected and whose interests they serve, and can result in policies that privilege corporations and the wealthy over the democratic majority.

“We can do better: to advance not only the public health and medical scientific evidence in relation to these issues of subverted democratic governance, but also to apply the existing social science evidence on these powerful drivers of human and planetary health harms and health inequities,” Krieger wrote. “For the health of current and future generations, of people and of the other species with whom our lives are interdependent, we can afford no less.”