Scoping the proximal and distal dimensions of climate change on health and wellbeing
© The Author(s). 2017 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
The impacts of climate on health and wellbeing occur in time and space and through a range of indirect, complicated mechanisms. This diversity of pathways has major implications for national public health planning and influence on interventions that might help to mitigate and adapt to rapidly changing environmental conditions, nationally and internationally. This paper draws upon evidence from public health and adverse impact studies across climate science, hydrology, agriculture, public health, and the social sciences. It presents a conceptual model to support decision-making by recognizing both the proximal and distal pathways from climate-induced environmental change to national health and wellbeing. The proximal and distal pathways associated with food security, migration and mobility illustrate the diverse climate change influences in different geographic locations over different timescales. We argue that greater realization and articulation of proximal and distal pathways should radically alter how climate change is addressed as a national and international public health challenge.
Publication of this article was funded by the UK Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) Network. LWEC was succeeded in 2016 by the Research and Innovation for our Dynamic Environment (RIDE) Forum (http://www.nerc.ac.uk/research/partnerships/ride/). Contributory research was funded in part by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Environmental Change and Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in partnership with Public Health England (PHE), and in collaboration with the University of Exeter, University College London, and the Met Office; the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) for the MEDMI Project; and the European Regional Development Fund Programme and European Social Fund Convergence Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (University of Exeter Medical School).
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from BioMed Central via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 16 (suppl. 1), article 116
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