Revised and adopted December 14, 2021
Description: There is unequivocal evidence that human influence is impacting climate and that these changes are having negative consequences for human health.1 There is also clear evidence that Vermont’s climate has been changing during the last 50 years. Mean winter temperatures have risen 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit, and mean summer temperatures have risen 2 degrees.2 Annual precipitation in Vermont has increased by almost 7 inches during that same time period.2 Warming will likely continue even with significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, though mitigation efforts can limit warming and improve air quality.1
The Vermont Public Health Association (VtPHA) recognizes the connection between climate change and human health. Continued climate change will have serious ramifications for human health. The health effects of climate change are likely to be negative, impacting social and environmental determinants of health including clean air, safe drinking water, housing, employment, and transportation. Key climate-related health risks that may affect our region include increased heat-related morbidity and mortality, increased allergic sensitization, respiratory illness, and cardiovascular illness, increased occurrence of water-borne and food-borne illness, and increased transmission of insect-borne diseases such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis, West Nile virus, and Lyme Disease.3
Policy Statement: The public health and health care systems will be fully engaged in the response to climate change with a focus on strategies that will improve health outcomes and decrease health disparities.
Supported Actions: In light of the threats that climate change poses to health, VtPHA supports these evidence-informed strategies:
Potential Barriers: Scholars have suggested the following challenges to public health engagement will complicate addressing climate change:
About the association
VtPHA is a membership organization which facilitates collaboration among people who care about public health and are interested in protecting and promoting the health of Vermont residents.
VtPHA is an Affiliate of the American Public Health Association (APHA). APHA is the national voice of public health and champions the health of all people and all communities. They are the only organization that combines a 140-plus year perspective, the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health and a member community from all public health disciplines and over 40 countries. Learn more at www.apha.org.
Copyright © 2018 Vermont Public Health Association. All rights reserved.