New public health plan tackles climate change in Oregon

Guest Blog Post by Alex Garcia, Oregon Climate and Health Program, AmeriCorps VISTA Team Member

Oregon’s public health sector is committed to taking care of Oregonians, especially those most vulnerable amongst us. That is why addressing and preparing for climate change, one of the greatest threat multipliers for public health, is a priority for the Oregon Health Authority.

Yesterday, the Oregon Public Health Division released the Oregon Climate and Health Resilience Plan, a new climate resilience plan for Oregon’s Public Health system.

The plan outlines a set of actions that the public health workforce specifically can take to address climate change. These recommendations build on the findings of the 2014 Oregon Climate and Health Profile Report, which identified climate change as a threat to clean air, clean water and healthy food, especially for populations who already bear disproportionate burdens. Here is one of the videos featured in the plan that explains the different ways one pathway can affect our health and how climate change exacerbates the effects:

To watch more videos, go to the Oregon Public Health Division’s new Climate and Health Playlist.

The new Resilience Plan represents a commitment to initiatives that advance ‘co-benefits.’  “Co-benefits” is the concept that a given strategy can produce multiple benefits beyond its primary intention. For example, public health interventions that strengthen local food systems and promote more walkable communities not only benefit human health (by improving access to healthy food and places for physical activity), they also improve our air quality and benefit our atmosphere (of which all life depends).

You can be part of this shift. Take a look at our new Oregon Climate and Health Resilience Plan and consider how you might join with public health partners to elevate strategies that benefit both our health and a stable climate.

  • Be a change agent: Make connections across sectors, organizations, and communities – introduce people to potential partners and be willing to explore less conventional collaborations.
  • Stand up for equity and inclusion: Invite and empower new voices into climate conversations.
  • Strengthen social networks: How can you build social resilience within your own circles of influence? – Consider organizing a book club, happy hour, or lunch lecture!

For more information, please visit our website.

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