Jun 22, 2016, 9:00 AM, Posted by Alonzo L. Plough
Tackling the daunting health effects of climate change requires community leaders from all sectors to work together to meet the needs of everyone, especially the most vulnerable.
It’s been nearly 10 years, but I still remember the deadly heatwave that hit California back in July 2006 and claimed hundreds of lives.
The blistering heat lasted for 10 days, with temperatures soaring as high as 119 degrees—the highest ever recorded in Los Angeles County. The number of heat-related deaths was estimated to be as high as 450 across nine counties, including Los Angeles County.
During the five years that I worked as director of emergency preparedness and response for the Los Angeles County Department of Health, we constantly battled the health effects of really hot days, wildfires and droughts.
These weather phenomena directly impact health—and they are all linked with global climate change. Just this past weekend, during a trip to Yosemite National Park, President Obama noted, “Climate change is no longer a threat—it’s a reality.”
The people at greatest risk of serious harm from these climate change-related events include children, the elderly, people with chronic health conditions, the economically marginalized and communities of color.