Climate change has become a politicized issue. Dr. Jay Lemery and Kim Knowlton, PhD. made the case at the Vail Symposium’s event at The Antlers at Vail on Sept. 20 “Enviromedics: Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health” that it is a medical issue. Dr. Lemery established the empirical link between rising temperatures and increased mortality. In vulnerable populations, such as children and seniors, heat exacerbates existing medical conditions—with a discernible spike in deaths as a result. Furthermore, excessive rainfall and flooding are linked to increases in waterborne disease. Higher average temperatures are also linked to expanding vector populations which increases the risk of diseases such as malaria, dengue, and Zika.
Following Dr. Lemery’s sobering presentation, Dr. Knowlton acknowledged the steep rise in U.S. temperatures by the end of the century if carbon emissions are not reduced. She presented ways we can begin cutting carbon emissions and provided anecdotal examples where this is taking place. She detailed community plans to adapt to the changing climate and mitigate the effects on the population. Finally, she made the financial case for steering our energy use to greener, and healthier alternatives.
During our winter season, the Vail Symposium continues the conversation on sustainability and the environment with a screening of the film “The Human Element” and a program examining the nexus of food and climate change. We hope you’ll join us.
To access the presentations from both Dr. Lemery and Dr. Knowlton, click here.