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Bloomberg American Health Initiative

Environmental Challenges

The Challenge

How Americans produce and use water, food, land, transportation systems and energy profoundly impact human health.

Climate change and energy transition, in particular, will present threats via multiple pathways and at many levels to cause adverse public health outcomes.

Environmental threats are directly related to disparities in health and income across the United States. Low-income groups are more likely to live in communities with limited tree canopy, few transport options, substandard housing and greater exposure to noise, toxicants and extreme weather events. These factors have contributed to ecosystem degradation and climate change as well as a range of physical and mental health problems; notably obesity, physical inactivity, type 2 diabetes and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Opiods Icon Many cities, including St. Louis, Philadelphia, Chicago and Cincinnati, have suffered high mortality during heat waves.

Seeking Sustainable Solutions

Efforts to tackle environmental challenges will benefit from decades of work at the Bloomberg School to maximize human health and environmental sustainability. Examples of our work include the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, where we are exploring and researching ways to build a food system that is more resilient to environmental change. The Johns Hopkins Program on Global Sustainability and Health examines the drivers, consequences and implications of global environmental change in light of energy scarcity concerns and financial and political obstacles to achieving a more sustainable future.

The Bloomberg American Health Initiative will link public health to the fields of urban planning, landscape architecture, architecture, environmental design and assessment, agronomy, food systems, and civil engineering.