Changing Planet, Changing Health: How the Climate Crisis Threatens Our Health and What We Can Do About It

Paul R. Epstein, M.D. and Dan Ferber, foreword by Jeffrey Sachs. Univ. of California, $29.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-520-26909-5
While the reality of global warming is accepted by the global scientific community, its impact on the spread of disease is less well known. In fact, a 2001 study commissioned by the UN showed that the correlation was hotly contested. Epstein (Global Migration), the Associate Director of the Center for Health and Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, and Ferber, a contributing correspondent for Science magazine, have assembled a comprehensive report of studies conducted over the past decade that corroborate the work of Andrew Githeko, a Kenyan scientist who has documented a link between climate change and malaria in his country. The authors issue an alarming warning that climate change not only threatens health directly, by spreading insect born diseases and reducing air quality, but indirectly as well. They cite Githeko's and other ground-breaking studies proving that a rise in ocean temperatures reinvigorates previously dormant cholera in estuaries, swamps, and oceans. While the case they make will delight environmentalists, their methods for achieving positive change are more controversial. The authors eschew regulation for "a form of capitalism akin to what worked so well in the mid-twentieth century, with a highly regulated financial sector that would steer industry to protect the global commons..." An eye-opener but not an easy read. Photos. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/25/2011
Release date: 04/01/2011
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