Your April 5 editorial “Weather alert” observed that, “Climate change is here, but action lags,” and urged that North Carolina lead the way in debating and discovering what state and local governments can do to address “the threat that is already upon us.”
Last year, North Carolina’s environmental health community acted to stimulate that debate and discovery. In October, the Research Triangle Environmental Health Collaborative convened a summit on climate change and public health. The summit provided a forum for experts to share research, discuss relevant developments and identify gaps in the current knowledge of the potential impacts of climate change on public health statewide. Participants represented across the climate change research and policy communities, including local government officials, nongovernmental health advocates, private sector public health consultants and government and academic climate change and public health researchers.
Three working groups examined climate change’s potential public health impacts among three demographic settings in North Carolina: rural, urban and coastal. The groups produced a set of recommendations for both individual and coordinated policies, actions and partnerships that could help North Carolinians better prepare for the most pressing public health threats that climate change is bringing our way.
The collaborative will soon issue these recommendations in a summary document.
Leah Devlin and William Ross
Co-chairs, Research Triangle Environmental Health Collaborative