Enviromedics: The Impact of Climate Change on Human Health Illustrated Edition
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From the Publisher
Save Mother Earth
A changing environment impacts global human health. Our goal is to spark curiosity, observation, discussion, and analysis. In order to ignite and fuel the discussion to effect real changes, we need to emphasize medical conditions that are with us every day. Human health is the common denominator that overlaps all boundaries of geography, science, politics, and economics.
We believe that no significant change in our approach to preservation of the planet will occur until influential people begin to believe that profoundly detrimental medical situations are linked to environmental behaviors. This is no different from the reasoning we use to combat obesity, tobacco use, genocide, and nuclear war. By writing this book, we introduce the fusion science and term Enviromedics, defined as the impact of environmental change upon human health.
No Way Out
Hot and dry – they go hand in hand. As temperatures climb and rainfall diminishes, grass turns brown, leaves wither and die, and undergrowth becomes brittle. Verdant forests become flammable fuel, endless until it burns and is reduced to ashes.When a dry forest goes up in flames, it spews embers and fireballs, and overruns the terrain and dwellings with ferocity unmatched by any other natural disaster.
It was 'dry lightning' that caused the fire. In the midst of a forest, the tallest cluster of trees beckoned to the bottom of a dark grey anvil overhead, and Thor could not resist. In a mighty instant, the match struck in the heavens ignited the ground below.
Tom and Sally lived in a log cabin in the woods and had cleared a 20-foot perimeter around the foundation. If fire struck, they would battle only briefly, and escape with their valuables when it became apparent that their dwelling couldn’t be saved. They realized that their plan was cutting it close, but they knew the forest service roads near their property like the back of their hand.
The fire started five miles away, and dense smoke came early, pushed by the wind. It turned the incandescent sun into an orange ball. A neighbor drove up to their home and shouted that everyone in the area had been given instructions to evacuate. Helicopters carrying huge bags of water pulled from lakes and planes spraying brightly colored retardant chemicals flew overhead. War was being waged on this fire.
Nobody wants to abandon their home. Tom mistakenly thought they could tough it out for another 15 minutes. 'We’ll be right behind you,' he assured his friend. That would be the last time they saw each other.
The wall of fire came fast and unexpectedly from two directions. The inferno burned everything in its path. By the time that Tom realized that Sally was not responding, she was face down in the backyard, crushed by a fallen tree limb. In a desperate attempt to save himself, he quickly dug a shallow pit in the ground, knelt down, and covered up with an old silver 'space blanket.' In a lesser fire, this might have saved his life, but this was no lesser fire. The scalding air and flames made quick work of Tom, and destroyed his home and thousands of acres of surrounding forest. It was one of dozens of fires triggered by the same weather system, in a pattern that would be repeated often as weather and fuel combined to create a perpetual fire hazard.
A warmer world will create newly hospitable habitats for insect vectors (such as mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) and the diseases they carry. As average global temperature creeps up, mosquitoes will thrive at higher latitudes and altitudes. In the northern hemisphere, they are increasing their natural habitat. Increasing temperature increases the rate at which the infectious organisms carried by the vector can replicate within insects, which direct correlates to infectivity in humans. In a warmer climate, malaria, dengue, West Nile virus disease, Lyme disease, and Zika virus infection will increasingly account for much of the global burden of disease.
Flood is the most common natural disaster in both developed and developing countries. Floods are expected to increase worldwide in intensity and frequency from both extreme weather events and sea level rise. In the 20th century alone, there have been dozens of floods that resulted in more than 10,000 deaths apiece. Direct and instantaneous effects, such as trauma or drowning, occur in the chaos of rising, rushing waters. Days after the flood, the risk of infectious disease spikes because of exposure to stagnant and contaminated water. Months to years later, the toll on mental health from loss and displacement becomes very evident.
Many drownings, particularly in high-income nations, occur when occupied motor vehicles are swept away. The elderly are at great risk of flood-related morbidity due to their physiologic vulnerability, and because they are more likely to ignore recommendations to leave flooding homes, or even to refuse evacuation. Injuries can occur from fast moving, debris-laden floodwaters. Post-flood environments are dangerous. They are full of broken and sharp objects, downed power lines, and hazardous materials.
In the days after a flood, another peril often emerges. Floods act as a giant environmental blender, mixing industrial wastes, drinking water, and sewage together, leaving pools of stagnant and contaminated water in close proximity to humans.
The Final Diagnosis
If Earth is warming because of global climate change, then human health will suffer. We do not appear to be on a good path. If we need fertile fields to grow crops and livestock, oceans to supply precious nutrients, clean air to breathe, and weather patterns that don’t continuously threaten large populations, we need to make prompt decisions. Human history is replete with creativity, resilience, determination, and optimism. Let’s get going.
Summing Up: Recommended. All readers., CHOICE
Global warming is hazardous to human health. Lemery and Auerbach, emergency-medicine physicians and past presidents of the Wilderness Medical Society, invent the word enviromedics to describe the medical consequences of environmental change, and argue that droughts, floods, hurricanes, forest fires, pollution, and toxic waste jeopardize the future of humankind. “Earth will go on, no matter what we do to it,” they say. “The more pertinent question is, will we?” Flooding causes allergenic mold, and hotter temperatures lead to, among other things, disease-carrying mosquitoes spreading to more locations. Despite detailing a scary list of horrors, the authors beg people not to give up. After all, they say, 42 percent of U.S. adults smoked 50 years ago, and only 17 percent do today. They credit regulations (bans in public places), economics (the increased cost of cigarettes), and awareness of medical science (media campaigns). Could a similar approach work when it comes to global warming? They give the last word to young people, such as Caroline Spears, co-director of Students for a Sustainable Stanford. “I can either give up or be inspired,” she says. “I choose the latter.” In their well-researched, fact-filled treatise, Lemery and Auerbach passionately make the case for how the continuation of the human species depends on people taking better care of the planet by investing in renewable energies, consuming wisely, voting for motivated public officials, and speaking out to give future generations a chance. It’s a sobering and empowering message.
, Booklist, Starred Review
Lemery and Auerbach, of the schools of medicine at the University of Colorado and Stanford University, respectively, adopt a no-nonsense ‘doctor’s approach’ as they survey the effects of climate change on public health. As ‘doctors on the front line,’ the authors regularly observe the medical ramifications ‘of climate change, pollution, and the reduction of biodiversity.’ Their aim here is to spotlight how changing environments affect health, using a ‘fusion science’ they call ‘enviromedics.’ The authors document manifestations of climate change alongside medical case histories that support their bleak conclusion that climate change will worsen preexisting health problems. The patients profiled include Sid, an elderly man with lung disease whose condition is exacerbated on days with an unhealthy air-quality index; Mark, who contracted malaria (one of several tropical diseases creeping into higher latitudes) from mosquitoes in New Jersey; Amanda, whose already severe allergies are bound to worse as pollen counts are predicted to ‘more than double by 2040’; and John, who suffered a reaction to mussels tainted by an algae bloom, itself a result of elevated oceanic carbon dioxide levels. Climate science will continue to evolve, Lemery and Auerbach concede, but ‘if Earth is warming because of global climate change, then human health will suffer.’, Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
With Enviromedics, Lemery and Auerbach join the ranks of dauntless physician and public health colleagues who highlighted the grave risks of tobacco smoke and nuclear war and demonstrated the potential for collective action grounded in the principles of medical science. The book is an excellent primer for those who would like to know more, a gentle prod for those on the cusp, and an accessible treatise for the skeptic. It is a call to action, and, happily, a celebration of several inspiring young people already taking significant action around climate change and health. In the afterword, they share testimonies from 5 young people committed to climate action, highlighting their motivations, their passion, and their optimism, a nice shot in the arm and a great way to end their stirring book., Annals of Regional Science
With Enviromedics, Lemery and Auerbach join the ranks of dauntless physician and public health colleagues who highlighted the grave risks of tobacco smoke and nuclear war and demonstrated the potential for collective action grounded in the principles of medical science. The book is an excellent primer for those who would like to know more, a gentle prod for those on the cusp, and an accessible treatise for the skeptic. It is a call to action, and, happily, a celebration of several inspiring young people already taking significant action around climate change and health. In the afterword, they share testimonies from 5 young people committed to climate action, highlighting their motivations, their passion, and their optimism, a nice shot in the arm and a great way to end their stirring book., Annals of Emergency Medicine
The real crisis of climate change is one of public perception, and far too few of us realize the catastrophe that we're headed into. Lemery and Auerbach bring forth the human element from climate change – they bring us to the bedside and force us to rethink our risk assessment. For that reason alone, Enviromedics is one of the most important books of the year. -- James Balog, Director, Extreme Ice Survey and Earth Vision Institute
It isn’t remotely possible to remove your body, and its health, from the environment you live in, air you breathe, food you eat. Enviromedics persuasively explains what we have done to our planet, and how we are already paying a price for climate change with our health. Heed Lemery and Auerbach’s message, before it’s too late. -- Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer; author of I Heard the Sirens Scream
In anticipating the consequences of climate change, there has been insufficient discussion of the discrete medical consequences and the arising health care challenges. This thoughtful book provides a framework upon which to categorize, anticipate, and understand such critical medical issues. Lemery and Auerbach’s work is pioneering and will be the standard in this field. -- Abraham Verghese, MD, MACP, Professor of Medicine, Stanford University; recipient of the National Humanities Medal; author of Cutting for Stone
With this book, Lemery and Auerbach do what physicians do best: assess the patient's presenting symptoms, consider and apply the evidence at hand, and prescribe a path forward. They demonstrate the unique value that a medical perspective brings to the greatest health threat of the 21st century — climate change. -- Nick Watts, Executive Director, Lancet Commission: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change
Climate change is a medical issue. That’s the starting point for Jay Lemery and Paul Auerbach in their compelling new book. They write about what doctors will face as more and more patients walk through their doors feeling dizzy and vomiting from heat stress, with burns from fighting wildfires, or with a mosquito-borne disease that never used to be found in these parts. It’s already happening and can only get worse, much worse. Their message is vital to the health of this and future generations. -- Clive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University; author of Earthmasters
About the Author
Paul Auerbach, MD, is the Redlich Family Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and Adjunct Professor of Military/Emergency Medicine at the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He is a founder and past president of the Wilderness Medical Society and elected member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Dr. Auerbach is editor of the definitive textbook Wilderness Medicine and author of Field Guide to Wilderness Medicine and Medicine for the Outdoors. He was the founding co-editor of the journal Wilderness & Environmental Medicine and is one of the world’s leading experts in wilderness medicine and emergency medicine. Dr. Auerbach served as a first responder to the earthquakes in Haiti (2010) and Nepal (2015) and was instrumental in creation of the Nepal Ambulance Service. Former Chief of the Divisions of Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt and Stanford Universities, he has also been a faculty member at Temple University and the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Auerbach was one of the first proponents of physicians becoming active participants in the discussions on issues related to the environment and global climate change through his activities with the Environmental Council of the Wilderness Medical Society and a commentary published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2008 titled “Physicians and the Environment” and creation of the Environmental Council of the Wilderness Medical Society. He has been honored by the Divers Alert Network as the DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year and with a NOGI Award for Science from the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences, and recognized by the 98th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) for his work in Haiti. He continues to seek opportunities to assist others and make the world a better place.
For updates on the authors and on book related activities check out enviromedics.org.
- Item Weight : 1.06 pounds
- Hardcover : 232 pages
- ISBN-10 : 144224318X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1442243187
- Product Dimensions : 6.24 x 0.91 x 9.29 inches
- Publisher : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; Illustrated Edition (October 20, 2017)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #601,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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