MORGANTOWN, W.Va.— Global warming and climate change are having an impact on our health, not just the planet, according to experts gathering at the WVU Law for a free public conference.
“Climate Change and Public Health: Addressing the Growing Crisis” will be held on September 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the law school’s Event Hall. Registration is free and includes a buffet luncheon.
To register, visit energy.law.wvu.edu/ccph
The speakers at the conference will discuss how the climate crisis is causing serious economic, physical, and mental injuries from extreme weather, heatwaves, flooding, drought, and poor air quality. The program is presented by the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at the WVU College of Law, the West Virginia Center on Climate Change, and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Public Health Training Center.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that climate change is producing serious public health impacts and needs to be addressed as a public health crisis,” said James Van Nostrand, director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development. “This conference will examine the impacts that we are currently experiencing, as well as steps that will be necessary in the future to address the growing threat.”
Dr. Bernard Goldstein will deliver the keynote address at lunch. Goldstein is professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Health, and former dean of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
"In approaching global climate change, we need to go beyond sorting out the economic and political winners and losers,” said Goldstein. “In our country, as in the rest of the world, the health impact of global climate change will fall particularly on children, the elderly, those with pre-existing health conditions, and those without the resources to adequately protect themselves from the forthcoming changes. We need to apply to global climate change the old public health adage of ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’”
Other presenters at the conference include Dr. Lise Van Susteren, practicing general and forensic psychiatrist; psychology professor Susan Clayton of the College of Wooster; Dr. Daniel Barnett of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Chelsea Gridley-Smith of the National Association of County and City Health Officials; Luann Brink of the Allegheny County (Pa.) Health Department; Dr. Ned Ketyer of the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project; Ashley Ward of the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment; and Shana Udvardy of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
West Virginia University speakers will be professors Robert Duval of the School of Public Health and Nicolas Zegre of the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design.