Climate change

There is growing recognition of the link between climate change and our health and wellbeing. The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) believes we must act now to reduce the impact of climate change on the society. 

Until recently the focus of the climate change debate has been on rising sea levels and melting ice caps. We are now realising that it also presents one of the most significant challenges to public health we have ever faced, putting at risk the very pillars of life: clean water, sanitation, air quality and food. 

We believe that human health must be at the heart of action on climate change. It must be embedded in the political debate, in strategies to change how we live and in how we plan for the future. Environmental health practitioners (EHPs) should be key players in this process 

EHPs have the understanding, the skills, and the opportunities to make a significant contribution to what must be a shared priority for all of society. They can make this contribution in three core domains: externally with the businesses, organisations and communities they work with on a daily basis, internally within their own organisations and individually at a personal level. 

This work will involve not only developing activities and interventions to help reduce carbon emissions (mitigation) but also preparing for the effects of things such as  more frequent heatwaves and floods, food and water shortages, a rise in infectious diseases and in the incidence of pests and even population movements. 

As part of its contribution to climate change activities, the CIEH has created this web based resource specifically for environmental health practitioners (EHPs) to help raise awareness, provide motivation and support.

On the right you will find links to two CIEH reports on the health impact of climate change and to our policy briefing note on climate change. The first report – Climate Change and its Health Implications – examines the likely health impact of climate change and presents information and strategies for those working in environmental health in the United Kingdom. The second - Climate Change, Public Health and Health Inequalities - sets out the basic arguments surrounding climate change and calls for action. It discusses major issues facing EHPs like securing a safe food supply and combating pest borne disease. Both reports contain a comprehensive list of references and links for practitioners wishing to examine the issues in greater detail. Links to some of these further reports can be found in the special topic pages listed on the right in the ‘Links to Other Publications’ box. 

You will also find a link to a collection of case studies - Our world, our wellbeing, published in March 2011, showing how EHPs are helping to tackle climate change across the UK. 

Through this resource and by working with its partners the CIEH is committed to ensuring that EHPs remain equipped to maximise their vital contribution to meeting the climate change challenge. 

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