Climate-related environmental health concerns

 

Climate change is the greatest public health challenge of the 21st century, as it threatens the very basics – our air, food, water, shelter and security – that human life depends on. In Minnesota we’re experiencing two pronounced climate trends, which are expected to increase and continue:

While we will all feel some impacts of climate change, it’s important to understand that it will increase certain health risks. Climate change will disproportionately impact many of the communities that already experience health inequities, or systemic differences in health status that are preventable and unfair. In order to make our communities stronger, more resilient, in the face of climate change, we must focus on reducing health inequities.

Image of thermometer abd water droplet

Learn more about environmental changes impacting the health of Minnesotans:

  • We’re getting measurably warmer. This trend is primarily driven by a warming of our winter temperatures.
  • We’re getting measurably wetter. This trend is primarily driven by more extreme and damaging rainfall events.

In addition to responding to the impacts of these current trends, we also need to plan for the impacts of additional climate changes we’ll likely experience in the future. For example, while heat waves are not yet increasing in Minnesota, climate projections indicate that future increases in hot days and warm nights are likely by mid-century.

While we will all feel some impacts of climate change, it’s important to understand that it will increase certain health risks. Climate change will disproportionately impact many of the communities that already experience health inequities, or systemic differences in health status that are preventable and unfair.  In order to make our communities stronger, more resilient, in the face of climate change, we must focus on reducing health inequities.

Related links

Air quality
Drinking water quality
Health equity
Heat-related illness
Hot weather
Lyme disease
Pollen
West Nile virus

 

Other MDH resources

Climate and health in Minnesota
Agriculture and food security
Water changes