IN THIS ISSUE:
EVENT: Planetary Health: Human Wellbeing on a Planet Under Pressure, presented by Dr. Howard Frumkin - April 21, 12 PM PDT
April is Global Adaptation Month: What do we mean by adaptation?
4th Planetary Health Annual Meeting - April 25-30
TODAY: Join us for an Earth Week presentation
Join C-Solutions and UCLA Health for a virtual lunchtime webinar presented by Dr. Howard Frumkin, in which he’ll discuss what we can do to protect human health and well-being in the face of a changing environment. He’ll also be sharing key takeaways and findings from his latest books, Planetary Health: Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves (Island Press, 2020), and Planetary Health: Safeguarding Human Health and the Environment in the Anthropocene (Cambridge University Press, 2021). The event starts at 12 PM Pacific Time on Wednesday, April 21.
April is Global Adaptation Month: What do we mean by adaptation?
In the fight against climate change, no single solution can address all the needs that arise. Together, both tested solutions and emerging ideas play a role in increasing the resilience of our communities while improving the livelihoods and health of all people. Climate mitigation strategies, such as switching to renewable energy sources, are crucial for slowing the progression of climate change by reducing or preventing greenhouse gas emissions.
But you may have noticed that here at C-Solutions, we tend to focus more on a different, though related, kind of strategy: climate adaptation. Much of our work aims to help communities to address the impacts of climate change that are happening now. For instance, we’re already experiencing a rapid increase in the number of extreme heat days, especially in cities—a problem that’s caused by climate change. So to protect those in Los Angeles who are most vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat, we’re engaging directly with communities to design new cooling structures and install them where they’re most needed. We also know that parks and green spaces can buffer the harms of climate change. They filter air, cool temperatures down, provide mental health benefits, and may even increase life expectancy. But Black and Latinx folks, and those who live in low-income neighborhoods have less access to parks and green spaces than people who live in more affluent or predominantly white communities. So we partnered with Prevention Institute and the UCLA Center for Occupational and Environmental Health to create an advocacy toolkit to address the unequal distribution of parks and green spaces in Los Angeles County.
Fortunately, climate mitigation and adaptation aren’t mutually exclusive. Many efforts that are aimed at improving human health through adaptation have co-benefits for mitigation. Improving access to parks and green spaces is one example of a strategy that capitalizes on this idea of co-benefits. Similarly, creating and improving infrastructure for active transport like sidewalks and bike paths can reduce emissions from cars and improve our health by promoting physical activity, which can help prevent heart disease and obesity.
At C-Solutions, we look to make adaptation strategies actionable so we can help make a difference for communities in the near term. The effects of climate change are already impacting people’s health, so we need solutions to be implemented now. We believe that by prioritizing adaptation, we can see immediate, tangible benefits for human health, our planet, and our economy, and improve educational and health outcomes for younger and future generations.
COVID-19 and air pollution link makes headlines
Four members of the C-Solutions team—Dr. Michael Jerrett, Dr. Yifang Zhu, Jonah Lipsitt, and Jonathan Liu— recently published research showing that Los Angeles neighborhoods with the worst air pollution saw a 60% increase in deaths from COVID-19 compared with communities with the best air quality. Dr. Jerrett spoke about this research with KPCC, NBC Los Angeles, and other news outlets. He also spoke with the NY Times about COVID-19 vaccine verification.
Dr. Greg Pierce publishes drinking water needs assessment
Dr. Greg Pierce, C-Solutions Faculty Associate, and his team recently published the 2021 Drinking Water Needs Assessment with the California Water Boards. The report offers the first-ever comprehensive look at California water systems that are struggling to provide safe drinking water to communities and how to help them. It identifies failing water systems and those at risk of failing, estimates the cost of short- and long-term solutions for these systems, and analyzes the funding gap and affordability challenges that may be barriers to provide safe drinking water to every resident.
Dr. Rachel Morello-Frosch named to Biden’s Environmental Justice Council
Dr. Rachel Morello-Frosch, a member of our Expert Advisory Board, was named to the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council. While speaking to Berkeley Public Health, she said “I’m excited to support the Biden Administration’s efforts to address current and historic environmental injustice, and to collaborate with so many outstanding people who have dedicated their lives to advance environmental justice in communities across the country… We have a lot of work to do”.
FROM OUR PARTNERS
Call for Abstracts: Climate Adaptation Research Symposium
The Luskin Center for Innovation is hosting the Climate Adaptation Research Symposium this September. This free, virtual symposium will bring together leading adaptation scholars, policymakers and practitioners, with the goal to expand knowledge and inform resiliency policies. They are currently accepting abstracts. For more information:
4th Planetary Health Annual Meeting (Virtual)
Co-hosted by our friends at the Planetary Health Alliance along with the University of São Paulo, Brazil, the theme for this year’s meeting is Planetary health for all: Bridging communities to achieve the Great Transition. Each day of the meeting is grounded in a diverse theme and objective, which include: highlighting collective planetary health values; cross-pollinating planetary health knowledge, education, and technology; showcasing change-making science, stories, solutions, and communities; and building systemic solutions across economics, governance, and civil society.
For more information and to register:
FROM THE BLOG
Many mountains to climb: Rising up to the challenges of climate change, COVID, and racial injustice
Our guest blog contributor is James Evans, Sustainability Programs Manager at UCLA Health, friend of C-Solutions, and avid rock-climber. Reflecting on his experience of climbing in Yosemite last summer when much of California was engulfed in wildfire smoke, James discusses the interconnectedness of the crises we’re facing and what we can do. He especially stresses the role of health professionals in connecting the dots between climate change and health, but everyone has a part to play.
In honor of National Public Health Week, we had an in-depth chat with Dillon Bernard and Lara Cushing about their recent mobilization efforts and research at the intersection of climate, health, and justice. You can view the entire chat or chosen excerpts by clicking here:
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World: A three-part documentary series following young climate change activist Greta Thunberg from August 2019 to late 2020, when she took a year off school to explore the science of global warming and challenge world leaders, calling for action on climate change.
🔥THE THIRD DEGREE🔥
Lightning trivia for non-trivial times
Earth Day was created in 1970 to force the protection of our environment onto the national agenda. On the very first Earth Day, twenty million Americans demonstrated across the country on behalf of environmental issues. What federal agency was founded in response to the demonstrations?