Health and Climate Change in South America

5

Anthropogenic climate change significantly impacts South America, triggering various environmental transformations throughout natural ecosystems and human societies. Agriculture, infrastructure, and public health are all wrestling with the consequences of this changing climate. However, these impacts vary across the region, due to existing social vulnerability and adaptive capacity influenced by financial resources and political commitment. These challenges can perpetuate a vicious cycle of poverty, displacement, and deteriorating health.  

Addressing these multifaceted issues necessitates a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach. Deliberate integration of climate change and health considerations into planning and policymaking is crucial. This involves incorporating knowledge about how climate change impacts health, implementing adaptation strategies to mitigate health risks and enhance well-being, adopting health-focused mitigation actions, securing funding, and engaging the public.

Proactive and coordinated efforts that draw upon global and local research, policy initiatives, and actionable steps are urgently needed. Aligning these elements can have health co-benefits by enhancing air quality, dietary patterns, and urban environments, and overall health and well-being in a changing climate.

This series highlights significant knowledge gaps surrounding the intersection of health and climate in South America, emphasizing the pressing need for further research and concerted action to safeguard population health amidst these climatic shifts.

Source: The Lancet