Every action counts when it comes to tackling climate change and its impacts on health. Even simply talking about it can make a difference.
At Kaiser Permanente, we know that climate change affects the environment and threatens the health of our members and communities.
In fact, the World Health Organization has called climate change the single biggest threat to global public health.
This Earth Day, we invite you to join us in talking about the impact of climate change on health and taking action to support a healthy environment — because everyone has a role to play in addressing climate change.
Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns due to human activity.
It’s impacting health by increasing the frequency and duration of extreme weather events, such as longer, more intense heat waves; devastating floods; and stronger, wetter hurricanes. These extreme events can lead to injuries and deaths, but also to poor health, in a number of ways.
For example, climate change is contributing to the spread of mosquitoes and ticks, leading to an increase in illnesses like Lyme disease and West Nile virus. It is also increasing air pollution, which can cause or worsen respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. And studies have found that climate change is increasing the amount of pollen and the length of allergy seasons.
All of this can lead to a variety of negative impacts on physical and mental health. And not everyone is equally at risk. Climate change causes more harm to children, older adults, people of color, and households with low incomes.
At Kaiser Permanente, our work to protect the environment is part of everything we do, from the way we power our facilities to how we purchase medical supplies and equipment and how we support our communities. In 2020, we became the first U.S. health care organization to achieve certified carbon neutral status, and now 100% of our electricity is coming from renewable sources.
Moving forward, we’re striving to do even more. We’re eyeing the future with an aim to reduce all our greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2023 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. In fact, the Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Offices facility in California was the first medical building to achieve net-zero status and the first net-zero health care building in the nation.
But we can’t tackle climate change alone. One of the simplest and most important things you can do this Earth Day is learn more about how climate change is impacting health and help raise awareness about the connection. Your voice can make a difference. Read our climate and health fact sheet to learn more and to help you take these 3 simple steps: