Follow Up: Congress, it’s time to follow your doctor’s prescription on climate change

BY DON GAEDE & ALEXANDER SHERRIFS – Originally posted in the Fresno Madera Medical Society Magazine

We are convinced that climate change threatens the health of our patients and our Valley’s future prosperity.  The Beijing-like air quality experienced in the last round of wildfires is clearly related to a lengthening fire season resulting from climate change.  There are many actions we can take individually and collectively which can make a difference.  A recent article in The Hill* highlighted opportunities for us physicians to make our voices heard as a new congressional term begins.  The article was written by Mona Sarfaty, MD, MPH, Director of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health, based at George Mason University.  It concluded with these words:

“With a new Congress being seated in January, my medical colleagues and I hope every member is willing to face the reality that climate change is the biggest threat to our health and well-being. We hope they will also recognize that responding to climate change is our biggest public health opportunity.

As physicians, our primary responsibility is to help our patients be as healthy as possible. To achieve this aim, we need Congress to do its part. Therefore, we want every member of the new Congress to hear our voices on this issue. We will know they are truly listening if they issue three responses:

  1. They publicly affirm the reality of human-caused climate change and its harmful impacts on the health and well-being of American families, communities and businesses and particularly our most vulnerable citizens.
  2. They develop and support legislation that will greatly accelerate America’s transition to a future powered by clean energy and enhanced energy efficiency, paced by meaningful goals and timetables, to improve the health of all Americans, now and in the future.
  3. They develop and support legislation that will help American communities protect themselves and become more equitable and more resilient to the harms of climate change, so that people are not needlessly hurt.

Congress, it is time to listen to America’s doctors and act for our health.”

We encourage FMMS members to contact their congressional representatives and let them know you want them to act now on climate change.

Links to contact your member of Congress:  

Rep. Devin Nunes

Rep. Jim Costa

Sen. Diane Feinstein

Sen. Kamela Harris