Indiana ranks 14th for asthma-related deaths in the U.S. In 2016, there were about six times as many tick-borne illnesses in the state than there were a decade before. Health experts say rising temperatures are making these issues and others worse — and it’s time the U.S. addressed them.
More than 70 health organizations in the U.S. are asking government and business leaders to act on the climate crisis. They say things that are good for the climate are often good for public health. Renewable energy, for example, helps reduce the harmful ozone and particle pollution in the air that lead to heart and lung problems.
Children, seniors, minorities, and low-income populations are especially vulnerable to many of these health issues.
Dr. Aparna Bole is with the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health. She says it’s time healthcare professionals had a seat at the table.
“That health is always prioritized when considering policy related to energy, transportation, food systems, and some of the other areas outlined here — I think is critically important," Bole says.
Dr. Laura Anderko is with the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children's Health and the Environment. She says many people don’t realize that poor air quality can also cause children to miss school or adults to miss work, which affects the economy.
“I really think that if more people could connect those dots, we would be moving healthy public policy more quickly than we are right now,” Anderko says.
Experts also say the U.S. needs to do more to make healthcare facilities and communities resilient against climate change.
Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.