"AS THE WILDFIRES raged out west on July 26, we woke up to a hazy sky that was uncharacteristic of the Boston area. The usual clear and clean skies of living next to the ocean disappeared and our air quality hit a dangerous and “unhealthy” level. As healthcare workers looking at this thick smog, we knew to expect additional emergency department and office visits for respiratory complaints. People with asthma, including children, would have a harder time breathing because of the increased soot and particles in the air. This polluted air may also increase the transmission of COVID-19.
The fact that our air could be polluted from wildfires on the other side of the country is a stark reminder of our interconnectedness. It demonstrates that no one is safe from the ravages of climate change. Thousands of people in the Pacific Northwest visited emergency departments because of the extreme heatwave that swept through their communities this summer. Here in Boston, we experienced the hottest June on record, followed by the wettest July on record, and in August a tropical storm. As this is being published, we are in the midst of the fourth heat wave of 2021. For us, this translates into an unacceptable increase in the number of patients being treated in hospitals for heat exhaustion and asthma exacerbations."
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Friday, August 27, 2021
"Climate change is fundamentally an issue of health equity and racial justice"
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Natalia Linos, a co-author of this article, is executive director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University and a regular contributor to the wfpr.fm radio show "Toward a More Perfect Union"
We Are Convened - In Order to Form a More Perfect Union
More Perfect Union can be found on Google Podcast (among others)
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