Climate change is one of the greatest threats to human health in the 21st century. Yet these impacts to health are still not well recognized. Since you can’t change what you don’t understand, this course is designed to equip health and environmental professionals, as well as other changemakers and the public, with critical and usable knowledge to take positive action. The course begins with an introduction to the science of climate change and how climate change affects human health. It takes a deep dive into climate change’s adverse health effects, including those related to extreme heat, waterborne infections, insect-borne diseases, and exposure to storms and floods. Throughout, the theme of health equity is interwoven by pointing to what factors make some populations more vulnerable than others to climate change’s negative health impacts. Finally, the course explains how measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can not only limit future climate change but can also generate substantial immediate health “co-benefits” over and above the benefit of reducing climate change.
Following completion of the course, students will be able to:
· At an introductory level, describe how the climate has changed, explain the role of greenhouse gases in climate change, and describe how the climate is predicted to change in the future.
· Describe how climate change adversely impacts population health, with differing vulnerability across population sub-groups, through direct effects; through ecosystem transformation and degradation; and through the stress it places on political, economic, and social systems.
· Explain how adaptation and mitigation strategies can reduce adverse health impacts of climate change and can generate substantial non-climate health benefits in a just and equitable manner.