We are living in a moment in which the twin crises of public health and the environment are merging, the confluence of the two magnifying the destruc-tive power of each. As they run together, the crosscurrents of disease and ecological deteriora-tion build on one another, becoming increasingly turbulent and damaging forces that are tearing at the very fabric of our societies. Climate change, chemical contamination, and unsustainable re-source use are all exacerbating ill-health the world over. These environmental health problems are increasing pressure on, and eroding the capacity of, already thinly stretched health care systems.
Meanwhile, the health sector itself is paradoxically contributing to these very environmental health problems, even as it attempts to address their impacts. Through the products and technologies it deploys, the resources it consumes, the waste it generates and the buildings it constructs and operates, the health sector is a significant source of pollution around the world, and therefore an unintentional contributor to trends that undermine public health.Yet the converse is also true. While there is a confluence of crises, there is also a growing convergence of solutions that foster both public health and environmental sustainability, pointing the way toward a greener, healthier future.
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