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Changing Planet, Changing Health

How the Climate Crisis Threatens Our Health and What We Can Do about It

Paul R. Epstein (Author), Dan Ferber (Author), Jeffrey Sachs (Foreword)


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Climate change is now doing far more harm than marooning polar bears on melting chunks of ice—it is damaging the health of people around the world. Brilliantly connecting stories of real people with cutting-edge scientific and medical information, Changing Planet, Changing Health brings us to places like Mozambique, Honduras, and the United States for an eye-opening on-the-ground investigation of how climate change is altering patterns of disease. Written by a physician and world expert on climate and health and an award-winning science journalist, the book reveals the surprising links between global warming and cholera, malaria, lyme disease, asthma, and other health threats. In clear, accessible language, it also discusses topics including Climategate, cap-and-trade proposals, and the relationship between free markets and the climate crisis. Most importantly, Changing Planet, Changing Health delivers a suite of innovative solutions for shaping a healthy global economic order in the twenty-first century.
Paul R. Epstein, MD, MPH, (1943–2011) was Associate Director of the Center for Health and Global Environment at Harvard Medical School and a medical doctor trained in tropical health. He contributed to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Dan Ferber is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine. His feature articles have appeared in many publications, including Popular Science, Audubon, and Nature Conservancy.
“If ever there was a book that ought to be on everybody’s reading bucket list this is it.”—Booklist
“A harrowing look at the road ahead that should urge immediate, proactive change.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Makes it clear that the health threats from climate change are here, and need immediate coordinated effort to keep in check.”—E! The Environmental Magazine
“An eye-opener ”—Publishers Weekly
“Because human health is 'the bottom line' at which the many adverse consequences of climate change will converge, Changing Planet, Changing Health is an excellent corrective for climate-change myopia.”—Nature
“An engaging book on climate change and public health.”—Noel Castree American Scientist
“Throughout, this book emphasizes complex interactions and highlights unintended consequences. It identifies solutions-- some drastic-- and refutes, with impressive evidence, political/financial efforts to deny climate change and discredit climate scientists. . . . Highly Recommended.”—Choice
“Absorbing and informative.”—Rich Heffern National Catholic Reporter
“This book provides a useful and interesting introduction to this still unsettled segment of the climate debate.”—Natural Hazards Observer
“This eye-opening book reveals how climate change alters patterns of disease and contributes to many of the world’s most serious human health threats.”—Taste For Life Magazine
"Changing Planet, Changing Health is a landmark book that will raise our consciousness about how we should respond to a growing emergency and save lives. Dr. Paul Epstein and journalist Dan Ferber offer stunning revelations about the ways that the climate crisis is jeopardizing food security and accessibility to drinking water while propelling disease vectors that are threatening public health worldwide. This book, the first to solely focus on the connection between the climate crisis and its damaging health effects, sounds a clarion call that shows how we can heal the earth, and ourselves."—Al Gore

“Climate change has brought a new imperative to global health efforts worldwide as the ‘changing planet’ both contributes to the spread of disease and worsens existing inequities. We must be ambitious in our response and heed the personal, political, economic, and institutional advice so keenly prescribed here by Paul Epstein and Dan Ferber. Our collective failure to intervene, or even to understand, portends disaster. But this volume also shows us just how much we can do to slow or arrest these adverse trends.”—Paul Farmer, MD, author of Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor and Co-founder, Partners in Health

"You'll never find a clearer or smarter explanation of one of the toughest problems the world faces as the Holocene ebbs and the warming era begins."—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

"Paul Epstein has long been at the forefront in alerting the public and our leaders on the many ways our lives and health are threatened by climate change. Together with journalist Dan Ferber, they have now written the book on the health effects of global warming. From malaria-carrying mosquitoes entering new regions now warm enough to support their life cycle to asthma triggered by higher carbon dioxide concentrations, to lives lost by extreme weather, Changing Planet, Changing Health is a vivid reminder of the urgency of the need for action. It can only be hoped that this sweeping and articulate book will trigger a renewed focus on this crucial challenge at a time when so many are distracted by other events."—Paul Volberding, MD, University of California, San Francisco

"This valuable and insightful book provides, in highly readable form, the most basic reason for concern over human source change in the climate system—the impact this change has on our health."—Paul Andrew Mayewski, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine

“Climate change isn't just 'inconvenient'— it kills. Bravo to Paul Epstein and Dan Ferber for laying out a clear explication. Deny the heat wave around you? OK, but brace yourself for the hospital bills.”—Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize winning writer and author of The Coming Plague

Changing Planet, Changing Health is an illuminating, important, and deeply sobering book.”—Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change

"As compelling as a detective novel, Changing Planet, Changing Health reveals the important—and often unnerving—links between climate and survival in a world in a world in which we are watching our known environment slip away. This is a vital story, and authors Paul Epstein and Dan Ferber have told it beautifully, so that their exploration of human behavior and consequences is wonderfully readable as well as being wonderfully smart."—Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York

CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, American Library Association

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Podcast interview with Paul R. Epstein, MD, and Dan Ferber, authors of Changing Planet, Changing Health

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