The Most Important Graph in the World

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A painful must-read - available through Salem Public Library

This is a hugely important, sobering book, especially when you realize that there hasn't been a single mention of climate disruption in the ongoing mayoral election here in Salem, even as we should be madly preparing for more intense heatwaves, water disruptions, and new (to us) diseases.
Publisher Comments:
Why should we care about climate chaos and global warming? Because, among other risky outcomes, they may seriously harm our health! Scientists around the world are in agreement that global warming, more aptly named climate change, is occurring and human activity is the primary cause. The debate now is in the scientific and policy worlds about just how harmful climate change will be and what are the best ways to stop it. One of those scientists is author Cindy Parker, who believes climate change is the most health-damaging problem humanity has ever faced. Parker has thus immersed herself during the past ten years in educating the public and health professionals about how climate change will affect our well-being. Here, she and husband, Steve Shapiro, a psychologist and former journalist, describe what we can expect if climate change continues unabated. The authors explain our possible physical and mental responses to such climate change factors as heat stress, poor air quality, insufficient water resources, and the rise of infectious diseases fueled by even minor increases in temperature. They also show how other changes that may result from climate change-including sea level rise, extreme weather events, and altered food supplies can harm human health. Parker and Shapiro have found, however, that just talking about the problem is not enough. Actions that can prevent or reduce climate change's harm are presented in each chapter. To illustrate how much global warming will affect our lives, Parker and Shapiro begin their book with a chapter showing the worst-case scenario if climate change continues without intervention, and end the book with the best case scenario if we act now. Their eye-opening work will appeal to everyone who wants to remain healthy as we challenge this world-altering problem of our own making . While written for a lay audience in a manner that limits technical terminology, the book will also appeal to students and professionals of public health, medicine, environmental psychology, and science who will find the focus on health and the extensive referencing useful.

Book News Annotation:

Parker (global sustainability and health, Johns Hopkins U.) and Shapiro, a clinical psychologist at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center's Community Psychiatry Program, explain how climate change can affect the health of humans and outline steps to take to prevent or reduce the health consequences of changes to temperature, air, water, food supply, and ecosystems. They also examine the effects of cataclysmic events, infectious disease, and human behavior. The book is aimed at general readers and students and professionals in public health, medicine, environmental psychology, and science. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Review:

Finally, a book that spells out in compelling detail what true health--personal and planetary--means in a 21st century dominated by global warming. If you read only one book about the climate crisis this year, this is the book. Mike Tidwell, Author, The Ravaging Tide: Strange Weather, Future Katrinas, and the Coming Death of America's Coastal Cities.

Review:

"Powerful, well-documented, and necessary. Global warming will do more to affect public health than any other force this century, and if you read this book you will understand both why, and how to help." - Bill McKibben, Founder of 350.org Author The End of Nature

Review:

Healthy planet, healthy people. Desire for good health is one more reason to kick our fossil fuel addiction and stop global warming. -- Jim Hansen, Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Synopsis:

As the debate over global warming continues, scientists around the world are studying subtle changes in human health across recent decades that coincide with climate changes. One of those scientists is author Cindy Parker, who has been immersed in a five-year study funded by the U.S. government. Here, she and husband Steve Shapiro, a psychologist and former journalist, describe what science is showing have been the effects of climate change on our health. The authors explain how both physical and mental health respond to factors including heat stress, poor air quality, poor water quality, and the rise of infectious diseases fueled by even minor increases in temperature. They also show how other changes that may result from global warming--sea level increases, extreme weather events, and altered food supplies, for example--can also harm human health. Actions to prevent or reduce harm from all of these changes are presented in each chapter. Why should we care about climate chaos and global warming? Parker and Shapiro begin their book with a chapter showing the worst case scenario if global warming continues, and the best case scenario if we act now. This eye-opening work will appeal to general readers and to students of public health, medicine, environmental psychology, and science.

About the Author

CINDY L. PARKER, MD, MPH, is Co-Director of the Program on Global Sustainability and Health at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is also a Fellow of the American College of Preventative Medicine. She has been working on a 5-year study of the effects of climate change on human health, funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control. Parker began her career as a family practice physician, then recognized she could help people more by focusing on preventing health problems before they started. Climate change is, in her view, the most health-damaging problem humanity has ever faced.

STEVEN M. SHAPIRO, PhD, is Clinical Supervisor and Counseling Psychologist at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Community Psychiatry Program, which provides community-based services to indigent children and families in the Baltimore area. A former health and social issues journalist, who worked in that role for the American Medical Association and publications including Science Digest magazine, Shapiro focused in his writings on ways to communicate that motivate people to healthy behaviors. His many awards in journalism include the American College of Emergency Physicians Award of Excellence, the American Heart Association Howard W. Blakeslee Journalism Award, and the National Headliner Award for Outstanding News Reporting.