Another cost of climate change: Our health

Doctors at Climate 911 have identified a half-dozen health concerns related to our changing climate.

Here's another cost of climate change that I forgot to mention in Sunday's column: The cost to our health.

According to the doctors over at Climate 911, climate change is the biggest health threat of our century, when you add up the effects of water and air pollution, food shortages and hunger, and severe weather forcing displacements that threaten the health and well-being of evacuees.

Members of the group will be on hand to discuss the link between climate change and health at a screening of the Emmy award-winning documentary, Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story, at 7 p.m. today (Wednesday, Sept 18) in Room A of the Iowa City Public Library. It's part of a series of educational events about water and the environment ECO Iowa City will hold between now and the end of October.

The film., commissioned by the University of Minnesota's Bell Museum of Natural History, takes a look at how Midwestern farm runoff contributes to the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone, and what some producers are doing to mitigate those negative effects. It also presents a good case study in the ways politics and influence can cloud honest discussion of environmental science.

The film's 2010 premiere was briefly shut down at the last minute by a UM spokeswoman who later resigned. The official reason? The film (which already had been fact checked and reviewed by at least a dozen scientists) needed further scientific review. Freelance writer Molly Priesmeyer outlines the whole, sordid saga in this post for the American Association of University Professors.

I also learned this week that the University of Iowa Public Policy Center is planning an extreme weather symposium to be held in early December. More on that as it develops.

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