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The Climate-Health Nexus

Environmental change has far-reaching implications that intersect with nearly every aspect of humankind including public health. Environmental change and associated impacts do not stop at geopolitical boundaries- the world is connected.

In the face of a public health catastrophe, COVID-19 offers a glimpse into the resilience and absorptive capacity of a place, but it also draws attention to the balancing act between the health sector and other internal and external socio-economic and political actors. Shared ecological surveillance, strong local to international partnerships, and political will for social protections can aid in addressing climate-health stressors (Ebi et al. 2013).

Since the Industrial Revolution, global temperatures have increased 1°C (2.5°F), a warming primarily driven by society’s fossil fuel addiction. In 2015, the Lancet sounded the alarm on climate change citing it as a medical emergency. Prolonged, more frequent heatwaves exacerbate pre-existing health conditions such as those pertaining to cardiovascular and respiratory disease. In a warmer world, evaporation increases and may modify water security risk. Toxic algae blooms and acidification of marine ecosystems threaten food security.

Climate change also shifts the distribution, range, and abundance of disease vectors such as the mosquito Aedes aegypti which