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Emerging Threats to Human Health from Global Environmental Change

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Table of Contents

Large-scale changes to the natural environment—including land-use change, climate change, and the deterioration of ecosystem services—are all accelerating.

These changes are generating five major emerging public health threats that endanger the health and well-being of hundreds of millions of people. These changes include an increasing exposure to infectious disease, water scarcity, food scarcity, natural disasters, and population displacement. Taken together, these threats may represent the greatest public health challenge humanity has faced.

There is an urgent need to improve our understanding of each of these threats so that natural resource managers and policymakers can better estimate the health impacts associated with their decisions. It would also allow aid organizations to target their resources more effectively.

Reprinted with permisison from the author. Originally published in The Annual Review of Environment and Resources. Contact publisher for reprint permission. 

Photo courtesy of AusAID | Flickr

Aaron Bernstein, MD, MPH

Aaron Bernstein is the Interim Director of The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics.

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