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IA Doctors: Climate Change Takes Toll on Patient Health

Ag/Outdoor, Weather

October 28th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Iowa News Service) IOWA CITY, Iowa — More than 4,000 medical professionals from across the country are demanding policy action on climate change. The coalition includes more than a dozen doctors and nurses from Iowa, who say the effects are visible in the patients they serve. They have signed a letter asking their patients to get behind political candidates willing to consider the issue. John Macatee, a retired doctor from Iowa City who practiced family medicine, said there are concerns within the medical community about climate change resulting in poorer health outcomes. In Iowa, he said, there’s a ripple effect within agriculture. “There’s ever increasing severity of weather changes causing flooding, which is decreasing crop yields, and depression and suicide,” he said.

In a 2019 report from the Iowa Policy Project, the authors predicted that the Midwest will see the biggest spike in premature deaths related to rising temperatures linked to climate change. While polls show more people, including younger conservatives, acknowledging the impact of a warming climate. many candidates still express support for the oil industry.  In asking patients to seek out politicians who support action on climate change, Macatee said it isn’t about partisanship. He called this a “human” issue. “Just like COVID, it’s affecting us all,” he said, “whether we’re Republicans or Democrats or Independents.”

One of the groups in the coalition is the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health. Some of the key demands include leaders who prioritize renewable energy over fossil fuels, and those who pay close attention to the science and medical communities. The letter is online at medsocietiesforclimatehealth.org, and the Iowa climate report is at iowapolicyproject.org.