Climate change threatens human health in many ways. The negative impacts of climate change on human health are likely to increase in both magnitude and frequency as the climate continues to change in response to ever increasing global emissions of heat-trapping gases released from a variety of human activities.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework provides guidance to states and cities to develop strategies and programs to confront the health implications of climate change. This report serves to address Steps 1 and 2 of the BRACE framework via an assessment of past and future climate change across New Hampshire combined with an assessment of the impact of climate change on human health.
A key component of the BRACE framework is building resilience. In public health, resilience is a measure of a community’s ability to utilize available resources to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations. More generally, people think of resilience as the ability to recover, persist, or thrive amid change. The New Hampshire Climate and Health Workgroup has tentatively developed the following definition: Resilience is the ability and capacity to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from significant threats with minimum damage to human health and well-being, the economy, and the environment.
The importance of the way we plan our built environment—including land use, transportation, and water management decisions, as well as how we interact with our natural environment and preserve its life-supporting functions—must be emphasized as pivotal points of intersection as we develop climate adaptation strategies.
Notably, a resilience-based approach to climate change adaptation should align with New Hampshire’s transformative State Health Improvement Plan. That plan underscores the importance of cross-sector collaboration and coordinated strategies to address the social and environmental determinants of health. These strategies not only support healthy communities for all New Hampshire residents, but they are also critically important for reducing health care costs and reducing the burden of disease.
Wake, Cameron P.; Bucci, John; and Aytur, Semra, "An Assessment of the Impact of Climate Change on Human Health in New Hampshire" (2014). The Sustainability Institute. 7.