I have two family members in Europe. One daughter has just relocated from Dublin to Amsterdam. She's found a centuries old place, the postcard spot along a city canal. My son-in-law works for Microsoft and is in Paris for a week-long company jamboree.
The timing couldn't be much worse as Europe enters what could be the hottest June heatwave on record. The previous killer heatwave in 2003 claimed 70,000 lives.
It seems no place is immune to these early-onset climate impacts. That's certainly true for the United States where the nation's leading medical organizations have joined forces to proclaim a climate health emergency across the land.
More than 70 health organizations signed a statement that, among other things, calls for a move away from fossil fuels. The groups cite storm and flood emergencies, chronic air pollution, the spread of diseases carried by insects, and especially heat-related illnesses.
Europe is anticipating an intense heat wave starting this week, and parts of the U.S., where extreme heat has been the leading cause of weather-related deaths, have already experienced record-breaking heat this year.
...The American Medical Association and the American Heart Association joined dozens of other organizations in signing the U.S. Call to Action on Climate Health and Equity. Recognizing that climate change poses a greater threat to children, pregnant women and marginalized communities, the groups said that social justice needs to be a mainstay of climate policy.
A main goal is to keep climate change on the political agenda, said Dr. Boris Lushniak, former U.S. deputy surgeon general and dean of the University of Maryland's School of Public Health.
"It's really for this discourse to be taken seriously," Lushniak said. "Climate solutions are health solutions."
He said climate change stands out as a public health crisis in his career, which has included responding to the anthrax scare, Hurricane Katrina and the spread of ebola. "I've seen a lot, but this scares me," Lushniak said.