Climate Change and Human Health

Reflections from the Anabaptist Collaboration on Climate Change

Climate Change as an urgent Health-related issue: Takeaways from the Anabaptist Collaboration on Climate Change 

For over two days in January, the Centre for Sustainable Climate Solutions (CSCS), hosted a gathering of Anabaptist institutional leaders to foster greater inter-agency and interdisciplinary collaboration around the issue of Climate Change, resulting in The Anabaptist Collaboration on Climate Change.

 Anabaptist World mentions MHF in their coverage of the event detailed in “More Willing to Change Our Ways”-Anabaptist organizations discuss how to work together in response to climate change.

While the CSCS gathering was not explicitly health-focused, MHF was grateful to be invited and present as a representative.  I (Cate) personally left the gathering with a deeper respect for the ways climate change profoundly impacts not only global but also local health in all its forms: physical, mental, and spiritual.

Climate change as a human health issue is not a new topic for MHF.

MHF’s 2019 Annual Gathering already focused on Climate Change and its impacts on human health. Session titles and some recordings from that gathering are available here.

Climate Change is a potent health issue and one we need to be aware of. It also beautifully intersects with our Five Life Standards project, especially “Cherish the Natural Order”.

There are many areas of concern within the area of health and climate change. I first became sensitized to the issue through an NPR article about medical education and the need to prepare residents to respond to climate-induced health issues.

The WHO also has provided a very helpful factsheet on Climate and Health.

The New England Journal of Medicine similarly provides a resource page with open-source articles for the academically minded amongst us.  

The December 2020 issue of Health Affairs, an open-source policy-related journal, focused on Climate Change and Health and has some excellent review articles.

Lastly, for those that appreciate Audio-based learning, a group of Anabaptist students with support from CSCS, produced a podcast exploring different facets of Climate Change called “Shifting Climates” that may feature someone(s) you know!

How might MHF “Join the Conversation” on Climate Change and Health – in Anabaptist contexts and beyond?

 Here are just a few of my thoughts:

-MHF and the Anabaptist Centre for Healthcare Ethics has the potential to lead in the ethics of climate change as it impacts health and wellbeing for all. MHF is positioned to  contribute by posing and exploring the question: What can Mennonite/Anabaptist ethics and values teach us about being healthcare providers and fellow humans in an era of climate change?

-What would it take for SET and Stephen Roth Grants to become “carbon neutral”? We currently offer the option to explore an SET term domestically, yet international service still remains an important part of the vision of SET and Stephen Roth Grants. What is a “climate just” way of administering these vital programs?

What are your ideas for how MHF can collaborate and address climate change as a part of our overall mission to “further the conversation” on Anabaptist values and health-related issues?


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