by Grace Cameron, Research Assistant, Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge, CEOs for Cities //
Why we need biodiversity for more reasons than just beauty
As an environmental studies major, I am always looking for ways to connect the social to the scientific. Environmental studies is a broader version of environmental science, because it also includes elements of humanities, law, policies, and social science. In addition to appealing to my inner climate warrior, the study of the environment allows me to make those crafty social-scientific connections.
Cities around the world face a number of challenges, including infrastructure, safety, economic, and environmental challenges. In its recent report Planting Healthy Air, the Nature Conservancy and C40 Cities collaborated to examine two major environmental challenges that impact health: particulate matter pollution and extreme heat.
Fine particulate matter, which is emitted from a variety of sources, including burning agricultural residues, fuelwood, and fossil fuels, is currently estimated to cause 3.2 million deaths per year globally. By 2050, its projected that fine particulate matter could kill up to 6.2 million people per year.
Extreme heat is also a major health concern. Currently extreme heat kills an estimated 12,000 people annually (and makes life miserable for billions more.) By 2050, it’s projected that deaths from heat waves could reach 260,000.
Though these are very serious issues, taking a heavy toll on our cities. There is a solution. And it is beautifully simple. Plant trees.
On April 4th the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge was officially launched!
The Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge (the Challenge) is a collaboration between the Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association (APHA), and the National Association of Counties (NACo) to encourage small to midsize U.S. cities, counties and federally recognized tribes to create a positive health impact. CEOs for Cities serves as the managing partner to administer the Challenge’s activities.
The Challenge will identify the best practices for achieving community and individual health, wellness and health equity. Additionally, the Challenge promotes collaboration and community-wide involvement and will identify nationally replicable models of health.