Giving Compass' Take:

• Jeff Wise explains how funders have come together across fields - health, equity, and the environment - to break down silos and address the varied impacts of climate change together. 

• What partnerships offer the greatest opportunity for impact? 

• Learn more about the connections between climate change and public health

Foundations are often criticized for "working in siloes”—approaching complicated social problems through a narrow lens. For a complicated issue like climate change, which has multiple causes and consequences, considering that bigger picture may point to solutions. This idea was highlighted by the Lancet Commission on Climate and Health, which pointed to climate change as being simultaneously a threat to fifty years of public health gains and this generation’s greatest public health opportunity.

According to a Health and Environmental Funders Network (HEFN) and ecoAmerica report, the same activities that cause climate change are having direct impacts on health, including respiratory, cardiovascular, neurodevelopmental, and other health problems. Compounding this harm are the health effects of climate change itself. Climate change produces changes in weather and increases in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, which in turn can cause injury and increase the spread of infectious diseases. Climate change already is worsening air quality and increasing the incidence and severity of respiratory diseases such as asthma. Climate change is impacting many natural and human systems that are critical for supporting human health, such as agriculture, infrastructure, and the economy.

In that spirit, five funder networks convened almost eighty funders from different fields in a November 2017 “Charting a Climate, Health, and Equity Agenda” meeting in Detroit, Michigan, to focus on the interconnections among climate change, health, and social equity interests.

Read the full article about improving health and equity while addressing climate change by Jeff Wise at Health and Environmental Funders Network.