-Written by Susan Davis, Library Assistant
Leading medical journals world-wide have called for governments to make “urgent, society-wide changes” in order to avoid “catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse” from global temperature increases. This strident call-to-action to save the planet is in an editorial published on September 5, 2021, in more than 200 of the world’s leading peer-reviewed health and medical journals.
We are all familiar with the reports that global warming is the cause of more and harsher weather incidents such as hurricanes, flooding, and unusually high temperatures. It is now well-established that we are also seeing the impact of those global higher temperatures on public health, causing increased dehydration, tropical infections, allergies, and cardiovascular issues to name a few.
“In the past 20 years, heat-related mortality among people over 65 years of age has increased by more than 50%.”
Damage to the ecosystem can be seen in lower crop yields, leading to greater food insecurity. The harm from global temperature increases disproportionately affects children, older adults, and those with underlying health conditions.
The editorial closes with, “The greatest threat to global public health is the continued failure of world leaders to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5° C and to restore nature. Urgent, society-wide changes must be made and will lead to a fairer and healthier world. We, as editors of health journals, call for governments and other leaders to act, marking 2021 as the year that the world finally changes course.”
Read the entire editorial at Call for Emergency Action to Limit Global Temperature Increases, Restore Biodiversity, and Protect Health