March 21, 2024

Healthy environment, healthy people — Earth Day and every day

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’re serious about doing things that help ensure good health for all and protect the environment.

Review California AB-1305 compliance disclosures on our greenhouse gas emissions reduction efforts.

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.

On Earth Day, we invite you to join us in talking about the effects climate change has on health and taking action to support a healthy environment.

Everyone has a role to play in addressing climate change.

How climate change affects health

Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns due to human activity.

It increases the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, which have many impacts on human health.

Heat waves are longer and more intense. Floods cause more damage. Hurricanes are stronger and wetter. These extreme events can lead to injuries and deaths. They also can lead to poor health. Here are some examples.

  • Climate change is contributing to mosquitoes and ticks being able to live in more places. Those insects spread illnesses like Lyme disease and West Nile virus to more people.
  • Climate change is increasing air pollution. Poor air quality can cause or worsen lung and heart disease
  • Climate change is increasing the amount of pollen plants, leading to more intense and longer allergy seasons.

And not everyone is equally at risk. Climate change causes more harm to children, older adults, people of color, and people with low incomes.

Join us on Earth Day, April 22

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 support our communities.

In 2020, we became the first U.S. health care organization to achieve certified carbon neutral status. Now, 100% of our electricity is coming from renewable sources.

Our new San Marcos Medical Center earned LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. That’s the highest possible rating for energy efficiency and environment design. The hospital was designed with low- or non-emitting materials to improve indoor air quality, has a small carbon footprint, and uses less water than typical hospitals.

Moving forward, we’re striving to do even more.

  • We aim to reduce all our greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030.
  • We’re working to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Net zero means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible. Any remaining emissions would be balanced by the amount we’d remove from the atmosphere.

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 help you take these 3 simple steps:

  1. Learn more about how climate change is impacting health.
  2. Identify easy ways to effectively communicate about climate change.
  3. Share information with your family and friends about the connections between climate change and health.