Environmental Health

Environmental Health Committee (EHC)

EH committee members are dedicated and passionate health professionals of all disciplines and allies, working on behalf of planetary health and survival.

OUR GOAL

A world where everyone is free of the existential threats of the climate crisis and environmental degradation.

OUR TACTICS

  • Advocate on behalf of our climate, environmental, and public health.
  • Communicate the science linking our climate and environment to our health broadly.
  • Nourish a new generation of health professional leaders in climate/environmental health.
  • Contribute to transformative societal change to secure racial, economic, and social justice for all.

We strive to achieve our goals by illuminating the systemic racial, economic, and social injustices that are key determinants of environmental health and by working in collaboration with allies on these intersecting goals. We work in local, state, national, and international arenas to influence public awareness, civic engagement, and the advancement of societal-wide and equitable solutions.

OUR PROJECTS

Our active engagement with these interrelated issues helps to advance the health of the environment, on which our overall health depends, and to secure health for future generations.

  • Health Impacts of the Climate Crisis
  • Carbon Free Economy & Fossil Fuel Divestment
  • Racial, Environmental, and Social Justice for All
  • Voter Education
  • Environmental Toxics and Degradation
  • Health Professional Education/Curriculum Development
  • Regenerative Food Systems
  • Renewable, Non-Nuclear, Energy Systems
  • Sustainable Healthcare Systems

CLIMATE EMERGENCY AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

SF Bay PSR’s efforts to address the global climate crisis is interwoven with our advocacy on behalf of preventing harmful environmental exposures. Exemplary of these interconnections, a June 2020 systematic review, including over 32 million U.S. births, documented the link between exposure to air pollution, heat, and serious adverse pregnancy outcomes. The review showed that women with asthma, and minority groups, especially Black mothers, are at highest risk of harm. Invariably the populations most vulnerable to environmental threats to health are people of color, people who are poor, have underlying health conditions, and/or lack access to health care, healthy food, and housing. As such, our members work to galvanize societal-wide policy action to upend these interconnected health inequities and injustices.

REDUCING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

As a 2019 report by Health Care Without Harm found, “if the global health care sector were a country, it would be the fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter on the planet.” As such, EHC members also work to reduce the carbon footprint of healthcare, through for example, by reducing red meat consumption and energy use by clinics, hospitals and medical schools.

ECONOMICS AND SECURITY

SF Bay PSR’s EHC work also intersects with our national security and nuclear abolition activities. Our nation’s insatiable need for controlling access to fossil fuels underlies massive carbon and military expenditures to the detriment of human health and planetary survival. Presently, more than half of U.S. discretionary funding, over 700 billion dollars in 2019, is allocated for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), while more than 44 million Americans lack access to healthcare.

Compounding the direct and indirect public health impacts of armed conflict and war, the DOD is the world’s largest institutional user of petroleum, and our wars, ongoing non-war operations, and maintenance of military installations place the DOD as the single largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world.

For more information, or to become a committee member, please contact us at info@sfbaypsr.org.

More resources can be found on our Advocacy Tools page.

“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”

Arundhati Roy: “The pandemic is a portal”

Toxics

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS

In recognition that pollution and climate change are exacerbated by regulatory rollbacks under the current U.S. Administration, EHC members collaborate with the  Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment  at UCSF and many NGO partners to organize the voice of health professionals in support of  strong regulations and systemic policy change.