The world-wide scientific consensus is clear: climate change is real, it is being driven by human causes, and we must act now to avoid its worst effects. However, it also clear that leadership in the fight against climate change will not come from Washington, D.C. anytime soon. The EPA is being targeted for huge budget cuts, and the U.S. withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord. In a heartening trend, businesses, community organizations, non-profits, states, counties and cities are stepping up to fill this leadership vacuum. Within this growing coalition there is one player that is often overlooked: local Health Departments. We have a unique perspective and the community connections to play a significant role in helping our communities adapt to the effects of climate change while also fighting against its causes.
By Cynthia Harding, MPH, Robert Gilchick, MD, MPH and Angelo J. Bellomo, REHS, QEP, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
Earth Day, celebrated each year on April 22, commemorates the birth of the modern environmental protection movement. Started in 1970 during an era when pollution was rampant in our country, Earth Day is credited with bringing the concept of environmental protection into the national political agenda. The first Earth Day was marked by massive rallies and demonstrations advocating for a healthy and sustainable environment. In 2017, Earth Day will be marked by a national call to action around science, with a march in Washington DC and other communities throughout the nation.