• Climate Change and Health

  • Topic outline

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    Melting Globe

    This Climate Change and Health Certificate Climate Change and Healthcourse teaches about the effects of climate change on human health (through online didactics), and gives a chance to practice techniques to reduce those effects (with globally-available peers and mentors). All components of this training (like all NextGenU.org trainings) are free, including registration, learning, testing, and a certificate of completion.

    There are 4 modules to complete through online study and peer-to-peer activities. These modules provide a basic introduction to the science of climate change, an overview of how climate change is affecting public health, some strategies to predict and communicate climate change, and suggestions on how we can adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. 

    There are practice quizzes in each module, and at the end of the course you’ll have a final exam, and a chance to give your assessment of this training. We will give you all the results of your assessments, such as your final exam and peer activities. We can report your testing information and share your work with anyone (your school, employer, etc.) that you request. We hope this is a wonderful learning experience for you, and the assessment that you provide at the course’s conclusion will help us improve the training for future students.

    Select the “Next” button to begin Module 1: The Science of Climate Change

    This course is co-sponsored by: Physicians for Social Responsibility350.orgInternational Society of Doctors for the EnvironmentGeorge Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, and Health Care Without Harm. This course uses adapted competencies on climate change and health recommended by the World Health Organization and the World Medical Association, and uses resources from accredited, world-class organizations such as the Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the World Meteorological Organization. The course developer is Erica Frank, MD, MPH, and our Advisory Group is: Robert Gould, MD; Thomas L. Hall, MD, DrPH; Edward Maibach, MPH, PhD; and Bill McKibben. We gratefully acknowledge major contributions from: Dr. Mike Benusic; Ms. Yasmin Kassam; Dr. Max Pensel; and Dr. Caroline Walker.

  • Module 1: Introduction to climate change

    After reading the resources and participating in the activities for this module, you will understand the difference between climate and weather. You will also learn about how burning petroleum-based fuels, maintaining coal-burning factories, and other human activities have created a greenhouse effect that is warming the planet.  You will gain a longer historical perspective, understanding how recent global warming trends differ from climatic changes of the past, especially in their marked rapidity.  Module 1 consists of 3 lessons, each with resources, activities and quizzes.  

    Competencies covered in this module: 

    • Be able to discuss what climate change is and how it is related to weather
    • Be able to distinguish normal climate variability versus abnormal/current climate change
    • Be able to describe the reasons for the sudden and dramatic climate change in the recent past

    Lesson 1

    What is climate change? A basic introduction to climate change, introducing important terms.

    Lesson 2

    Has the climate always been changing, or is this a new phenomenon? What distinguishes the current rapid global warming from historic climate changes?

    Lesson 3

    What are the causes of climate change? Learn about human activities that have caused the sudden and dramatic changes.

    Haze from space

    Glacier

    Coal plant smokestacks

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  • Lesson 1: What is climate change? A basic introduction to climate change, introducing important terms.

    Haze from space

    Competency: Be able to discuss what climate change is and how it is related to weather

    Learning Objectives:

    • Describe climate change, including natural and human causes of climate change
    • Examine the relationship between climate and weather
    • Examine how temperatures and precipitation are changing over time
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  • Lesson 2: Has the climate always been changing, or is this a new phenomenon? What distinguishes the current rapid global warming from historic climate changes?

    Glacier

    Competency: Be able to distinguish normal climate variability versus abnormal current climate change

    Learning Objectives:

    • Describe what kind of climate change (i.e. variability) is normal 
    • Describe pre-industrial era climate change
    • Explain how global warming trends differ from historic climate change

     

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  • Lesson 3: What are the causes of climate change? Learn about human activities that have caused the sudden and dramatic changes.

    Coal Plant Smokestacks

    Competency: Be able to describe the reasons for the sudden and dramatic climate change in the recent past

    Learning Objectives:

    • Describe the human activities that are contributing to climate change (burning fossil fuels, raising livestock, etc)
    • Explain the greenhouse effect
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  • Module 2: The effects of climate change on public health

    How will a rapidly warming planet affect public health? After reading these resources and participating in the activities for this module, you will understand both chronic and acute public health effects of climate change, as well as indirect public health effects such as water-borne diseases and air quality. Module 2  consists of 3 lessons, each with resources, activities and quizzes.  

    Competencies covered in this module:

    • Be able to discuss the different ways that human health is affected by climate change
    • Be able to identify climate change-related vulnerabilities
    • Be able to identify ways to protect and improve public health

    Lesson 1

    How will climate change affect human health? Learn about ways that climate change is currently affecting human health, and predictions for future public health effects.

    Lesson 2

    Who is most vulnerable? Learn about demographic groups and geographic regions who will experience greater health risk due to the effects of climate change.

    Lesson 3

    How can we protect human health from the effects of climate change? Learn about how to improve public health outcomes.

    Indian child

    Collecting water

    Children holding hands

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  • Lesson 1: How will climate change affect human health? Learn about ways that climate change is currently affecting human health, and predictions for future public health effects.

    India child

    Competency: Be able to discuss the different ways that human health is affected by climate change

    Learning Objectives:

    • Compare direct and indirect effects of climate change on health
    • Compare chronic vs.acute health impacts
    • Describe how climate change-related weather events affect health (storms, floods, heatwaves, cold spells)
    • Understand how burden of disease is measured
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  • Lesson 2: Who is most vulnerable? Learn about demographic groups and geographic regions who will experience greater health risk due to the effects of climate change

    Collecting water

    Competency: Be able to identify climate change-related vulnerabilities

    Learning Objectives:

    • Define vulnerability and key vulnerabilities in relation to climate change
    • List areas of the world that are most vulnerable to climate change
    • List groups of people that are most vulnerable to climate change
    • List the factors that make certain regions and/or populations vulnerable to climate change
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  • Lesson 3: How can we protect human health from the effects of climate change? Learn about how to improve public health outcomes.

    Children holding hands

    Competency: Be able to identify ways to protect and improve public health

    Learning objectives:

    • Identify necessary actions to protect people from climate-sensitive hazards, including improving public health systems and disaster risk management
    • Describe how climate information can be used to improve public health
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  • Module 3: Predicting and communicating future climate change

    Can we predict how the climate will change in the future? After reading the resources and participating in the activities for this module, you will understand how climate scientists have modeled future climate change. Specifically, you will become familiar with the IPCC’s four emissions scenarios and resulting climate change storylines. Module 3  consists of 2  lessons, each with resources, activities and quizzes.

    Competencies covered in this module: 

    • Be familiar with prediction models and methodology
    • Be able to communicate climate change issues

    Lesson 1 

    How do we make predictions about climate change? Learn about terminology, models, and methodologies.

    Lesson 2 

    How can we communicate effectively about climate change? Learn how to convey messages to the public and overcoming potential resistance.

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  • Lesson 1: How do we make predictions about climate change? Learn about terminology, models, and methodologies.

    People at white board

    Competency: Be familiar with prediction models and methodology

    Learning Objectives:

    • Understand prediction models of weather
    • Understand the models and methodology behind future climate change predictions
    • Understand how to monitor climate change
    • Appreciate the challenges of studying the relationship between health and climate change
    • Required Learning Resources and Activities

    • Additional Learning Options

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  • Lesson 2: How can we communicate effectively about climate change? Learn how to convey messages to the public and overcoming potential resistance.

    Microphone

    Competency: Be able to communicate climate change issues

    Learning Objectives:

    • Be able to communicate uncertainty and risk
    • Describe how to communicate climate change issues effectively
    • Understand why some people resist the truth about climate change
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  • Module 4: Taking action

    What can we do to adapt to the public health effects of global warming? Is it Climate Change March, September 2014, Erica Frank, MD, MPH, possible to mitigate climate change? After reading the resources and participating in the activities for this module, you will understand adaptation and mitigation strategies and their limitations. Finally, you will learn the most effective actions you can take, and how to best educate and inspire the public to change behavior, leading to a better future climate. Module 4 consists of 3 lessons, each with resources, activities and quizzes.

    Competencies covered in this module: 

    • Be familiar with adaptation strategies
    • Be able to describe how culture affects adaptation
    • Be familiar with mitigation strategies

    Lesson 1

    What can we do to adapt to climate change? What we can do to live with the effects of climate change that have already occurred?

    Lesson 2

    How do specific groups adapt to climate change? What we can learn from each other about how to adapt to climate change?

    Lesson 3

    How can we mitigate the effects of climate change? Learn about actions we can take to stop global warming from getting worse.

    sandbags women at well africa weather stripping window
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  • Lesson 1: What can we do to adapt to climate change? What we can do to live with the effects of climate change that have already occurred?

    Sandbag Wall

    Competency: Be familiar with adaptation strategies

    Learning Objectives:

    • Understand the role of adaptation and adaptive capacity
    • Describe some of the individual and social limitations to adaptation
    • Describe the costs and benefits of adaptation
    • Understand how some responses to climate change can be enacted within the domain of public policy
    • Understand how adaptation and mitigation strategies interact
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  • Lesson 2: How do specific groups adapt to climate change? What we can learn from each other about how to adapt to climate change?

    Women at well Africa

    Competency: Be able to describe how culture affects adaptation

    Learning Objectives:

    • Understand the relationship between gender and adaptation
    • Describe the importance of indigenous knowledge for adaptation
    • Understand how different regions are adapting to climate change
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  • Lesson 3: How can we mitigate the effects of climate change? Learn about actions we can take to stop global warming from getting worse.

    Weather stripping window

    Competency: Be familiar with mitigation strategies

    Learning Objectives:

    • Understand how adaptation and mitigation strategies interact
    • Describe how sustainable mitigation efforts can improve public health
    • Describe the health, environmental and economic benefits of mitigation. Describe some individual-level mitigation strategies (e.g. changing diets, air travel)
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  • Module 5: Additional Resources on Mitigating Climate Change (Optional)

    Library

    This optional module provides additional information on steps individuals can take to limit their own and others’ contributions to climate change through one’s personal, professional, and social service lives. Learn about "greening" your clinic, hospital, or other health system.

    • Additional Learning Options

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  • Final Exam

    The final exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions. It is timed. You will have 70 minutes to complete the exam. If you are taking the course for a final certificate, you must record yourself while taking the exam. 

    The final exam is password protected. When you are ready to take the final exam send an email message to techsupport@nextgenu.org

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  • Course Wrap up

     

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