This week’s Climate and Health Meeting at The Carter Center in Atlanta is a success story for environmental groups eager to get their message out amid a new political climate in Washington, D.C.
American Public Health Association Executive Director Georges Benjamin was originally slated to be a speaker at the opening day general session until circumstances dictated his role change. Namely, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention backed out as host of the event—a move Benjamin and others say is related to the new Trump administration’s views about client change.
Rather than watch the meeting fall to the wayside, APHA teamed up with the Al Gore-led Climate Reality Project, Harvard Global Health Institute, University of Washington Center for Health and the Global Environment, and Dr. Howard Frumkin, former director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, to come up with a one-day program on Feb. 16.
“We recognized we had to do something,” says Benjamin, who is now driving the event forward. Benjamin notes APHA declared this the year of climate change and health before Trump took office.
While two days of programming and time for networking will be lost and attendance will surely suffer, Benjamin hopes the notoriety around the canceling and revamping of the meeting may produce more publicity than if the event went on as scheduled.