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Building Bridges Between Public Health And Planners To Address Climate Change
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Building Bridges Between Public Health And Planners To Address Climate Change

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This presentation was prepared for the State of Florida\'s chapter of American Planning Association. Given the time restraints, this presentation is very basic. However I believe it will enable …

This presentation was prepared for the State of Florida\'s chapter of American Planning Association. Given the time restraints, this presentation is very basic. However I believe it will enable planners and public health professionals to begin a conversation.


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  • Heat Waves: Temperature, particularly temperature extremes, is associated with a wide range of health impacts. Extreme heat events cause more deaths annually in the United States than all other extreme weather events combined. The elderly- 17 percent of Florida’s population over 65 years of age- are more vulnerable than most other groups to heat-related deaths and illnesses, while lower income residents are also disproportionately susceptible since these individuals and families often cannot afford to properly insulate or air condition their homes. Extreme Weather Events: The state of Florida experiences a variety of extreme weather events including hurricanes, floods and droughts. Many of these events cause severe infrastructure damage and lead to significant morbidity and mortality. From 1940 to 2005, hurricanes caused approximately 4,300 deaths and flooding cause 7,000 deaths, primarily from injuries and drowning. Since 95 percent of Florida’s population lives within 35 miles of the coast, more frequent and intense tropical storms will directly impact millions, affecting not only the availability and cost of flood and homeowners’ insurance, but also the long-term viability, stability and safety of coastal communities32. Migration of Tropical Diseases: The migration of vector-borne tropical diseases has already been detected in Florida. Just this year, the Department documented dengue fever in the Florida Keys, where it had not previously been seen. It is expected that as temperatures rise, diseases carried by typically tropical means such as malaria, West Nile Virus and equine encephalitis will also increase in incidence Sea Level Rise: Rising seas will have immediate impacts on coastal communities, infrastructure, and public health. According to the Tufts University study, residential real estate valued at $130 billion would be submerged by a sea level rise of 27 inches, and one tenth of Florida’s current population will likely face relocation. Florida’s coastal resources provide many services, which contribute to the livelihood of Florida’s economy and its residents.
  • Florida has a significant number of seniors already residing in the state and a high percentage of rapidly aging baby-boomers. Currently, 16.8 percent of Floridians are over 65 and 2.2 percent are over 858. Additionally, the number of Florida residents over 65 will double by the year 20209. Seniors are among the most at risk due to the occurrence of chronic conditions, such as: hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and emphysema. Children: Children are in a constant state of rapid development and are not well equipped to handle physical and mental stress. Contributors to their vulnerability include: more rapid metabolisms, immature organs and nervous systems, developing cognition, limited experience and behavioral characteristics. Their exposure to various risks is also more likely to have long-term repercussions Lower Income: They are not as well served by protective infrastructure and services, are less able to adapt and prepare for extreme weather events and, often more dependent on local climate-sensitive resources. In urban areas especially, they frequently occupy the most risk-prone areas because these properties are more affordable. Low-income people and communities in Florida are particularly vulnerable to temperature increases for many reasons, including the "heat island" effect, lack of air conditioning, poorly insulated homes, inadequate access to medical care, and difficulty in getting to cooling stations during heat waves. Many also have jobs which require them to be outdoors which increase vulnerability to vector-borne disease. Pollution is also disproportionately concentrated in low-income neighborhoods and increased temperatures speed its transformation into harmful ambient ozone that aggravates respiratory conditions such as asthma. Low-income people are the least able to obtain relocate during extreme weather insurance or to rebound from a natural disaster’s aftermath, as was evidenced by the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina.
  • Maps produced by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the availability of Geographic Information System (GIS) modeling technology make it possible to show an approximation of Florida’s coastline at 27 inches of sea-level rise, which is currently projected to be reached by 2060. This assumption is based on no mitigation strategies being undertaken. Areas expected to be inundated by sea water with a 27 inch rise as the “Year 2060 Vulnerable Zone.” The Map shows the entire state of Florida with the vulnerable zone in red.
  • Relate To Health when discussing… see next slide for more direct example.
  • Simply stated, worse air quality worse lung health
  • What does that mean to someone’s health? People will have to drive more and more… Each additional hour spent in a car per day was associated with a 6% increase in the likelihood of obesity (Frank et al., 2004)
  • As Planners, focus on what the opportunities are.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Sandra Whitehead, MPA Environmental Health Planner, FL Division of Environmental Public Health Charles Pattison, FAICP, President, 1000 Friends of Florida Prepared By: Kevin Work, MSP Candidate 2011, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Florida State University
    • 2.  
    • 3.
      • Injuries and deaths related to thermal extremes including the heat island effect;
      • Illness, injuries and fatalities related to extreme weather events;
      • Migration of tropical diseases; and
      • The results of sea level rise;
    • 4.
      • Senior Citizens (residents over 65)
      • Children
      • Lower Socio-Economic Populations
      • People with Disabilities
      • Outdoor Workers
    • 5.
      • Year 2060 Vulnerable Zone
      • The vulnerable zone includes residential real estate now valued at over $130 billion, half of Florida’s existing beaches. The zone also includes basic infrastructure and commercial facilities such as those listed in the table below:
      • 2 nuclear reactors, 341 hazardous-material cleanup sites
      • 68 hospitals
      • 115 solid waste disposal sites, 140 water treatment facilities
      • 74 airports, 247 gas stations
      • 37 nursing homes, 171 assisted livings facilities
      • 1,362 hotels, motels, and inns
      • 277 shopping centers
      • 334 public schools
      • 1,025 churches, synagogues, and mosques
      • 82 low-income housing complexes
    • 6.
      • The built environment includes all aspects of the environment that are modified by humans
    • 7.
      • Increase in impervious surfaces results in water pollution.
      • Increased VMT results in air pollution
      • Increased heat island effects which increases temperatures
      • Increasing reliance on automobile leads to decreased levels of physical activity
      • Consumption of petroleum-based fuels sources leads to GHG emissions.
    • 8.
      • Air Quality and Respiratory Health
    • 9.
      • Mixed Use increases the opportunity for travel by walking, bicycling and transit.
      • Decreases the amount of green house gas production
      • Sprawling development isolates food markets, fresh produce, retail and recreation areas from residential uses.
    • 10. Reduced respiratory disease, Traffic injuries, Stress Increased Physical Activity, Social Capital Reduced Traffic
    • 11.
      • The Climate is changing.
      • The public’s health will be affected.
      • Planning professionals need to consider public health responses while planning.
      • Planning now will reduce long-term health costs associated with climate change.
    • 12.
      • Charles Pattison, FAICP, President, 1000 Friends of Florida
      Sandra Whitehead, MPA Environmental Health Planner, FL Division of Environmental Public Health Presented By: Prepared By: Kevin Work, MSP Candidate 2011, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Florida State University