Monday, 23 January 2012: 11:30 AM
Coastal Community Adaptation to Climate Change: Implications for Public Health
Room 333 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Public health is facing new and unusual threats in the face of changing climate. Since time immemorial, coastal inundation has been the driver for coastal productivity and well-being. The frequency, volume, and duration of inundation have shaped even where and when human settlements were constructed. It has similarly influenced patterns of pestilence and disease. Today, coastal inundation and other storm-related impacts are becoming more frequent and intense in many coastal areas, and these impacts have the potential to change old patterns of public health. But there has been limited geospatial integration of public health data sets along coastal areas. Efforts to address the effects of extreme storm events on coastal areas present a colossal challenge for coastal managers and policy makers. With infrastructure, the economy, and—most importantly—human life at stake, there is a strong need to compare adaptation strategies among coastal communities. The way forwa rd is to draw from specific examples of what communities are doing and apply those lessons in order to better prepare for potential health impacts related to climate change.