• Introduction



    Welcome to this module, which covers some of the Public Health aspects of climate change and its impact on populations.
    This course, open to everyone, aims to inform about the dangers of climate change to Public Health and spur us to action. Please share with others.

    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

    A few facts first: 

    As the Global Climate and Health Alliance has said:
    "Climate change poses an urgent threat to human health, and the impacts are already being felt around the world. Without transformative system change, they will become dramatically worse, particularly in the poorest regions - which have contributed least to the causes of climate change.
    The health sector everywhere needs to play a central role in addressing climate change--the greatest health threat of the 21st century. We must reduce healthcare's climate footprint, make our health systems more resilient, and most importantly advocate for a fundamental shift in energy, transport and agriculture policies. Our task is to end our dependency on fossil fuels, a move that can help tackle both climate change and the rise in non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, and asthma."

    The Lancet has called climate change "the biggest global health threat of the 21st century” and in its 2015 Commission on Climate Change and Health, while commenting that "The implications of climate change for a global population of 9 billion people threatens to undermine the last half century of gains in development and global health. The direct effects of climate change include increased heat stress, floods, drought, and increased frequency of intense storms, with the indirect threatening population health through adverse changes in air pollution, the spread of disease vectors, food insecurity and under-nutrition, displacement, and mental ill health" also says "The central finding from the Commission's work is that tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century."

    You might want to follow the Lancet Countdown: Tracking the connections between public health and climate change. The Lancet 2020 countdown report is very easy to explore and includes: "With the global average temperature having risen to 1·2°C more than that in preindustrial times, the indicators contained in the 2020 report provide insights into the health impacts of climate change today and in the future. Extremes of heat affect vulnerable populations the most, with some 296 000 deaths occurring as a result of high temperatures in 2018 (indicator 1.1.3).

    The climate suitability for the transmission of a range of infectious diseases—dengue fever, malaria, and those caused by Vibrio bacteria—has risen across the world (indicator 1.3.1). At the same time, crop yield potential has fallen for each of the major crops tracked, with dire consequences anticipated for food-insecure populations (indicator 1.4.1)."

    This short video accompanies the 2020 Lancet report and is also very informative:

    You might also like to read the current issue of the Lancet Planetary Health. Planetary health "aims not only to investigate the effects of environmental change on human health, but also to study the political, economic, and social systems that govern those effects."

    From the World Health Organisation:


    The US Environmental Protection Agency has summarised Climate Impacts on Global Issues.  This is a key resource to explore at the start of this course. The key points are: 

    • Countries around the world will likely face climate change impacts that affect a wide variety of sectors, from water resources to human health to ecosystems.
    • Impacts will vary by region and by population.
    • Many people in developing countries are more vulnerable to climate change impacts than people in developed countries.
    • Impacts across the globe can have national security implications for the United States and other nations.

    Ways to navigate the course: Click on the blue 'hyperlinks' to take you to read a resource.

    This course is for self study, although we have posted some Reflections as discussion questions to get you thinking -  you can post to these if you wish. There is a Blog menu, so please do add any comments you may have in the Blog menu, and read and respond to the comments of others. From time to time, we will offer a discussion of each of the 5 Topics, facilitated by experts in the field.

    There is a quizz to allow you to review your understanding of some of the concepts covered. You can earn a Certificate of Completion if you view each of the Resources pages in each Topic and pass the quizz (see Topic 5 at the end).

    The course was prepared by Professor Dick Heller, with input from Professors Peter Sainsbury and Lynne Madden as well as Dr John Van Der Kallen.

  • Climate Change and Public Health Home Page




    Introduction

    This course covers the basic Public Health aspects of climate change and its impact on populations. It aims to inform about the dangers of climate change to Public Health and spur us into action. 

    The course is designed to help you: 

    • Understand the key historical and projected estimates of climate change, and the human influence on climate change.
    • Understand the magnitude of the potential health problems for your local, national, and global populations from climate change, and advise on the implementation of improved data collection and accuracy (numerator and denominator), as well as explore and analyze the potential Public Health benefits of addressing climate change.
    • Understand how the health impacts of climate change relate to the ecosystem and environmental sustainability.
    • Identify the key issues which must be addressed when developing policy options and understand the main global players and influences.
    • Debate the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of potential interventions to reduce the Public Health impact of climate change in your setting.

    This course is an Open Access Course. It has been adopted from Peoples-uni and was further developed by NextGenU.org (NGU). It was sponsored in part by the Annenberg Physician Training Program (APTP).

    There are five (5) modules to complete, which include:

    Module 1: Introduction to Climate Change
    Module 2: Climate Change and Human Health
    Module 3: Climate Change in the Context of Environmental Sustainability
    Module 4: Climate Change, Policy and Politics
    Module 5: What Can We Do About Climate Change?

    Approximate time for completion of this course is 5 hours at an average reading rate of 144 words/minute.

    Engaging with this course

    • To register for this course, complete the registration form. Begin the course with Module 1. For each lesson, read the description. 
    • Each topic comprises introductory remarks. You can click on the collections of resources in each section. 
    • There is a forum on each topic for reflection, and you will be able to add a new topic or respond to a previous one. You may want to share your learning from this and other readings, comment on the topics from your own experience, comment on others' posts, or provide feedback on how we can improve the content and/or presentation.
    • There is a final quiz to assess your understanding of some important concepts. Click on the hyperlinks to take you to these items in each topic.


    Requirements to obtain the certificate 

    You may browse this course for free to learn for your personal enrichment. There are no requirements.

    To obtain a certificate, a learner must successfully complete:

    • All reading requirements
    • All discussion forums
    • The final exam with a minimum of 70% and a maximum of 3 attempts and
    • The self and course evaluation forms

  • Module 1: Introduction to Climate Change

    Headline Competence (Learning Outcome)After completing this Module, you should be able to:

    Understand the key historical and projected estimates of climate change, and the human influence on climate change.

    Before exploring the resources, you might want to look at this short video from NASA (Published on Jan 20, 2016). This visualization illustrates Earth’s long-term warming trend, showing temperature changes from 1880 to 2015 as a rolling five-year average. Orange colors represent temperatures that are warmer than the 1951-80 baseline average, while blues represent temperatures cooler than the baseline.


    1 Page, 1 Forum
  • Module 2: Climate Change and Human Health

    Headline Competence (Learning Outcome): After completing this Module, you should be able to:

    Understand the magnitude of the potential health problems for your local, national, and global populations from climate change, and be able to advise on the implementation of improved data collection and accuracy (numerator and denominator), as well as explore and analyze the potential Public Health benefits of addressing climate change.

    Look at this short video from the Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change. It is an excellent introduction to the topic.

    2 Pages, 1 Forum
  • Module 3: Climate Change in the Context of Environmental Sustainability

    Headline Competence (Learning Outcome)After completing this Module, you should be able to: 

    Understand how the health impacts of climate change relate to the ecosystem and environmental sustainability.

    Before exploring the resources below, you might like to look at this short video "Welcome to the Anthropocene."


    From the Welcome to the Anthropocene Educational Web Portal

    1 Page, 1 Forum
  • Module 4: Climate Change, Policy and Politics

    Headline Competence (Learning Outcome)After completing this Module, you should be able to:

    Identify the key issues which must be addressed when developing policy options and understand the main global players and influences.

    2 Pages, 1 Forum
  • Module 5: What Can We Do About Climate Change?

    Headline Competence (Learning Outcome)After completing this Module, you should be able to:

    Debate the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of potential interventions to reduce the Public Health impact of climate change in your setting.

    Bear in mind the headline comment from a 2014 report by 18 prestigious scientists:

    "In the face of an absolutely unprecedented emergency, society has no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilisation. Either we will change our ways and build an entirely new kind of global society, or they will be changed for us". (Blue Planet Synthesis paper for UNEP)

    1 Page, 1 Forum
  • Final Exam

  • Course and Self Evaluation & Certificate

    In this section, you can provide feedback about this course to help us make NextGenU.org better. Once evaluations are completed, you will be able to download your Certificate of Completion.
    Click here to give your feedback.