Health Care to Legislature – Help Head-Off Climate Change to Protect the Health of Minnesotans

By Dr. Bruce Snyder, retired Neurologist and member of the North Star Chapter’s Executive and Clean Air and Renewable Energy (CARE) Committees

healthcaretolegislature

Environmental legislation will face an uphill battle in the state legislature this year. Bills to advance clean energy and reduce pollution are unlikely to be heard. And there may be attempts to roll-back hard-won environmental protections such as the Renewable Energy Standard.

With this in mind and amid growing concerns about the health impacts of Climate Change, Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate, an organization of Minnesota doctors, nurses and health professions students, visited the state Capitol on Jan 11th to distribute its third annual letter to Minnesota legislators. The letter, signed by 14 Minnesota health care organizations and almost 300 Minnesota doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and students, is a clear expression of the concerns of health professionals from all over Minnesota regarding the dangers of greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel related pollution to our patients, families and communities. Signing organizations include: the MN Organization of Registered Nurses (651 members); the MN Public Health Association (375 members); the MN Academy of Family Physicians, the Twin Cities Medical Society, the Goodhue County Medical Society and the Zumbro Valley Medical Society – together representing a majority of Minnesota physicians.

The message to lawmakers is straightforward: health professionals from all over Minnesota have serious concerns about Climate Change. Our elected representatives can take important steps to protect our health – and reduce health care costs – by advancing Minnesota’s progress toward a clean energy future; by noting the risks posed by natural gas (methane) as a bridging fuel; and by making provision for individuals and communities that are particularly vulnerable to climate extremes (e.g. heat waves). The health care community will pay close attention to these issues in 2017.

For more information, please contact Bruce Snyder MD (hpforhc1@gmail.com) Coordinator – Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate (hpforhc.org)

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