From ecoAmerica’s “Let’s Talk Health & Climate Change: Communication Guidance for Health Professionals” introduction: Now is the time for health professionals to elevate our climate leadership throughout our organizations, communities, and nation. Health can be a game-changing driver for climate solutions.
The 2015 Lancet Commission Report, the American Public Health Association, and an ever-growing number of health professionals concur—climate change represents the biggest public health threat facing America and the world. The impacts are widespread and are beginning to manifest now.
Many Americans also report a general sense that climate change can be harmful to health, though few understand the types of harm or who is likely to be affected. Only 27% of Americans can accurately name one or more specific type of health harm caused by climate change, and only 25% can identify any disproportionately affected populations.
The growing realization of the impacts of climate change among health professionals, the need to convey this information to the public, and the fact that Americans report that they trust health professionals more than any other source for information present a rare opportunity. The health and medical community is uniquely positioned to advance the message that climate solutions are a health priority and will provide enormous health benefits.
At the same time, climate change is a complex and frequently political issue. There are few resources to guide health professionals in productive engagement. This guide is meant to be a helpful step forward in closing that gap. This guide combines values, communications (how to talk), and messaging (specific talking points) in a single resource. This, combined with all the resources in ecoAmerica’s Climate for Health program, can help make health professionals as adept at talking about climate change as they are at addressing America’s health challenges.
Read the full report here