. . . Global nursing organizations have called for significant action on climate change and other issues that threaten planetary health. Some organizations are leading the way with practical ways for nurses to get involved. For example, the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments sponsors Nurses Drawdown (see additional resources in the Appendix), which offers tangible steps that all nurses, including public health nurses, can take to draw down greenhouse gases and improve the health of humans and the planet. In addition, the American Nurses Association has launched an innovation committee on planetary and global health to support nurses who are taking action on planetary health.
We must take bold action to eliminate the causes of our current crisis, including challenging continued use of fossil fuels that impact air quality and contribute to climate change. We must work to adequately protect structurally vulnerable populations. The nation’s public health infrastructure needs a massive investment of federal and state funding. Public health must be universally recognized as the first line of defense if we are to have a sustainable health care system. Policies need to ensure equitable access to knowledge and resources to protect structurally vulnerable populations in a world undergoing climate change. Public health nurses can be part of redesigning our cities and communities to ensure access to clean air, water, green space, and healthy foods for all people. Finally, public health messaging must convey a sense of urgency and preparedness. We need to take mitigation steps now while also promoting adaptation and resilience to the changes already in play. At the same time, public health nurses and all health professionals must convey hope that if we work together across disciplines and political parties, we can build a healthy future for humans and all life on Earth. . .
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