Health and That Chinese “Hoax”

One of the unfortunate aspects of this bizarre Presidential campaign has been the lack of attention to the truly important issues America faces. Not that sexual assault, bigotry and massive ignorance are unimportant, but between disclosures about Trump’s “groping,” his “scorched earth” attacks on pretty much everyone, and his increasingly obvious mental health issues, the Orange One has sucked up all the oxygen in the room, with the result that issues of enormous consequence have received little attention, and even less thoughtful discussion.

Earlier this month, I posted about Trump’s selection of “environmental experts” for his transition team–a group of denialists about the reality of climate change.

We are already experiencing the severe weather that we’ve been warned will accompany our new climate reality; hurricanes that pick up power from warming oceans, flooding in some regions, droughts in others. But it isn’t only weather and agriculture that should concern us.

I often quote my cousin, an eminent cardiologist whose own blog is devoted to providing accurate medical information and debunking what he aptly calls “snake oil.” He recently reminded me that there is a health dimension to climate change that is too often overlooked:

At this time, most thoughtful people acknowledge the reality of humanly generated climate change on our environment, but they often fail to understand the real threat this poses to human health in general.

Now, the American College of Physicians (ACP), one of our most respected medical institutions, has issued a sobering position paper on climate change and it effects on human health, including higher rates of respiratory and heat-related illness, increased prevalence of vector-borne and waterborne diseases, food and water insecurity, and malnutrition. Persons who are elderly, sick, or poor are especially vulnerable to these potential consequences, according to this group. The ACP also states its belief that it’s incumbent on all those in the health industry to play an active role in protecting human health and averting dire environmental outcomes.

This ACP publication emphasizes that climate change presents a “catastrophic risk” to human health over the next hundred years that may wipe out all of the health advances made over the previous 100 years. The average temperature on Earth has increased by almost 1 degree since 1889, and greenhouse gas emissions have increased by almost 50% from 2005 to 2011. It is predicted that by the end of the century, the Earth’s temperature may increase by 5 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit. Ice in the Arctic and Antarctic seas has melted at unprecedented rates and the water levels worldwide have risen by almost 7 inches over the last 100 years. The World Health Organization has predicted that climate change will cause an additional 250,000 deaths per year from 2030 to 2050 due to malnutrition, increased malaria, increased respiratory illness, heat-related illness, food issues due to crop losses, and increases in waterborne infectious diseases and vector-borne illness:

Their current recommendations include the following:

The entire health care community throughout the world must engage in environmentally sustainable practices that reduce carbon emissions.
Support efforts to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.
Educate the public, their colleagues, their community, and lawmakers about the health risks posed by climate change

As guardians of human health, we must assume a more active role in avoiding these disastrous consequences—if not for our own well-being, but for that for our children and all future generations! These efforts could well begin with how we all vote in the coming election!

My concern is not simply with the efforts of fossil fuel companies to stave off changes so that they can continue to profit, or with the fundamentalists (too many of whom are in Congress) who piously insist that God will take care of us.

My concern is that far too many of us arguably normal folks will react just like patients whose doctors tell them to quit smoking or start exercising– patients who know the doctor is right, but who lack the will to follow through.


  1. And if Sheila didn’t already ruin your day, according to Stephen Moore, a Trump economic advisor, the Trump plan to spur the economy is to unleash the “power of coal, oil and gas” for the next 6 years. Mr. Moore is also one of the founders of the Club for Growth.

  2. Sandy,

    “…the Trump plan to spur the economy is to unleash the “power of coal, oil and gas” for the next 6 years.”

    Now, you’re ruining my breakfast.

  3. Sandy,

    “Mr. Moore is also one of the founders of the Club for Growth.”

    As you have pointed out, the real problem is much deeper than Donald Trump. To defeat Donald Trump and at the same time let his backers off the hook only creates a prelude for an unavoidable catastrophe….. FUTURCIDE.

  4. The god-fearing man trapped on his roof by flood waters refuses help from rescuers in a boat, then from a helicopter, saying that he has faith that god will rescue him. He drowns and faces god when he gets to heaven: He asks god why she let him drown; god says, Well I sent a boat and a helicopter, what else could I do? To illustrate the hole in that “god will take care of us” argument.

  5. We know from history that ‘education’ is not the whole, entire, and complete answer.
    Sometimes force has to come into it, as in: “eat this or you don’t get any dessert” — and it’s enforced.

  6. When I was a kid, people used to say, “God helps those who help themselves.” It is interesting that climate change has rarely come up in the election. Hillary did talk about it in the first debate just to let us know that Trump says it’s a lie started by China. The President can’t do much without the Congress. The real problem is in the ever so Republican House of Representatives, where any money to combat climate change has to originate. We have to fight the gerrymandering and elect people who will listen to the experts.

  7. daleb,

    This isn’t rescuers in a boat or a helicopter but it’s important nevertheless:

    Marv Kramer
    Sep 19 at 2:06 PM

    Mr. Meyer,

    It’s a tsunami, not a typhoon. The most important parts of the storm are sub-surface.There’s a big difference. Like you can see, It can be stopped by human intervention which can prevent the landfall. Four of us, Marvin Crenshaw, Roy Williams, Roger Staubach and myself stopped its beginning in1991 with the successful one man, one vote victory in Dallas. However, It immediately started again in North Florida and has been building up steam ever since. That’s why I have not returned to Dallas. The only way the socio/political tsunami can be stopped at this late date is to track it from its beginning in Dallas in the late 60’s and the subsequent move of the COG [Center of Gravity] to Jacksonville in order to create a new “ground zero” to spread the virus of hatred. I discussed this scenario in a special hearing of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission convened in Jacksonville, at my request, in the early 90’s. Forget about the Bush family, they are a major factor in the rise of the Tsunami. They are fatally compromised. They couldn’t do anything even if they wanted to.

    I formalized my tracking of the tsunami back in 2004 when I joined forces with Professor Harvey Wheeler, the former Program Director, at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara to form The Political Epidemiology Institute. See www. and

    If you’re interested and serious about stopping Donald Trump, I would be glad to provide you with all the intelligence I’ve collected in the last 45 years. My intelligence surpasses anything Donald Trump has. THE MAN MADE TSUNAMI [that Trump is “surfing”] HAS A FATAL WEAKNESS. I’m getting up in years, but I was still in a position to be a featured speaker at the Sun Tzu International Convention in Nashville back in February of this year on the subject of INTELLIGENCE.

    In any event, make sure you stay on this story. It’s more important to the future of America than WATERGATE.

    Marv Kramer

    [Mayer is a first class reporter. This E-mail was in response to an article he wrote saying we are dealing with a typhoon, but since it’s man made it can be stopped. He also mentioned in the article that he was surprised that the Bush family hadn’t intervened. He didn’t respond to the E-mail. In a later article, he discussed the fact that neither the media or the Democratic Party could stand-up against Trump. After reading that article, I wasn’t surprised that he would not respond to my E-mail.]

  8. daleb; ever wonder how many people in this country still believe God SENT Katrina and collapsed those levees as punishment for homosexuality? More than the Westboro Baptist Church still blame gays for all our ills in this country; doubt they blame them for Trump, he has Pence by his side fighting LBGTQs at every turn.

  9. With his numbers tanking, Trump has resorted to a rule or ruin strategy with his latest (shall I say it?) insane claims of “they’re out to get me,” “they’re” composed variously of certain sinister folk on an international level to the media to combinations of “Crooked Hillary” and Bill who are concocting all these lies about me. It’s a plot not only against me but America as well. If you don’t vote for me, America is toast on the road to oblivion. All is lost.
    I have a different view in my survey of Americana. For instance, I foresee oblivion of our democracy if we do not stop or at least slow the pace of institutional control of this country by corporations and I think wage inequality is our single biggest domestic issue – neither of which have been discussed by Trump. He is good at enumerating phony issues and out to lunch in discussion of the real issues of the day, all as compounded with his simultaneous “poor me” and God-like claims of omnipotence in “fixing” what he says is wrong with America, even going so far as to say he is the only one in the world who can fix such problems.
    I am accustomed to manipulative claims by politicians, but what worries me in this case is that this guy might really believe some or all of the propaganda he is spouting to the masses, and worse, that the masses do not understand that their vote is being manipulated by this power-mad narcissist who picks on women and “losers” as well as Democrats and Republicans and Muslims and Mexicans and anyone else who disagrees with him. I don’t know whether his problem (or set of problems) is organic or rooted in past business and sexual successes but I am beginning to think he should be spending the next four years of his life or more in a sanitarium for the disturbed rather than in the Oval Office. It appears that his narcissistic mindset simply cannot abide word from his advisers that he will lose this election and is lashing out at his mythical enemies with reckless abandon. I am a lawyer and not a shrink but if this man isn’t mentally ill, two and two are not four.

  10. Gerald; “Trump’s numbers tanking”…also headlines “Trump’s numbers rising”.

    On the other side we have “Hillary’s numbers tanking” and “Hillary’s numbers rising”.

    Trump is dropping out – Trump is not dropping out.

    Hillary is a criminal – Hillary is not a criminal.

    Their campaign members are writing the headlines and the media sends them out…do they read them first? Depends on who they support.

    Admit it; we KNOW nothing factual in this endless presidential campaign. As Ryan stated (and I gag as I agree with anything that man says); those running for office need to ignore the Trump mess and concentrate all strength on their “down ballot” campaigns. I strongly suggest we voters do the same; it is doubtful any of us voting for president have NOT made up out minds about that option. Let us concentrate on regaining the Senate and the House with intelligent, progressive, MORAL elected officials. The current Congress will still have about seven weeks to further screw up this country and deprive us of more rights.

  11. JoAnn – Of course we hear conflicting reports from both campaigns but the fact is that Trump’s numbers are tanking, and his new strategy of burning the barn down is designed to suppress the vote for Hillary and provides some proof that even Trump sees the handwriting on the wall. In my opinion the race for president is over and has been even before all the sex allegations of late and your suggestion that we now move to elect our down ticket is a good one and one I have been recommending to activists for weeks. Truth be told and in spite of vacillating poll numbers since the conventions, Trump was and is destined to lose, the only question being the margin of loss which could range from electorally tight to a landslide for Hillary. You are right to trumpet the need to elect the down ticket because Hillary will need some help to bring some sanity to the legislative process after the enormous damage done to the country by the tea party Republicans/Libertarians and other sellouts to Big Money.

  12. JoAnn, another “right on target” comment.

    When it comes to climate change there is ever before us that unseen elephant in the room… overpopulation. We all know it but dare not utter that word.

  13. I am optimistic that each future generation will not only accept the fact of climate change and global warmth, but they will focus their resources to affect it. My concern is that my generation will have refused to acknowledge it so long that my grandchildren’s world will have been irreversibly damaged….still habital, but not in a way I would consider enjoyable.

  14. Theresa; I do not understand all the technicalities about Climate Change and/or Global warming but I understand the basics and the undeniable connection much better after watching Al Gore’s Academy Award documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth”. In the 1940’s, when I was in the fifth grade, I remember being amazed when the teacher told us that long in the future, the weather in Indiana would be as it is in Florida. This is due to the fact that the earth is constantly changing, in tiny amounts, the position on it’s axis. At that time; no one could predict the overpopulation Theresa refers to or the “progress” in all forms of transportation, heating our homes and power to run machinery, making the earth a smaller place. But Climate Change was a reality at that time and it was known by scientists and school teachers who passed the information on to a generation who had no way to comprehend what it actually meant.

    I don’t understand atomic or nuclear powers either but am wise enough to know that access to either or both should be kept from Trump’s tiny little hands. Learning from the interview with a former head of National Security that there is NO document to prevent any sitting president from entering the computer codes to access nuclear weaponry and putting their finger on that button has left me in constant fear regarding the outcome of this entire election.

    Contrary to popular opinion; there is NOT an unending supply of fossil fuels, there are much safer and less polluting ways to make use of them as we research and switch to other forms of power – other than nuclear power. As Helen Caldicott said so long ago; “There are much safe ways to heat water.” And how real is the “China Syndrome” by now? Power plants and big business complains about the cost of preventing pollution and making our environment a safer place to live; the ignore that old adage, “You get what you pay for.” Of course they have also forgotten “paying their workers worthy of their hire.”

  15. The only thing positive that can be said of the current Presidential campaign is what a business boon it’s been for the media.

    At times it seems like the only governing getting done throughout this year has been by the Obamas. No doubt that lack of progress still has another 6 months to go while we figure out election results and install and organize and train another bunch of politicians for Congress.

    But there will be a return of Federal government eventually and hopefully this Congress will take their responsibility much more seriously than those that they replace did.

    One of their first priorities must be to establish the most effective role for themselves in rebuilding our energy supply and demand to what we can afford, which is to say paying for sustainable energy and not for the growing consequences of using our one common atmosphere to hide the exhaust from fossil fuel burning in addition to buying fuel in addition to the eventual necessity of replacing fuel sourced energy.

    It’s clear to us who hang around climate change bars that the evidence of their success or failure will have pretty simple metrics. 1) the rate of the closing of coal fired power plants and 2) the rate at which hybrid or electric vehicles are sold and 3) the rate that we retrain, relocate if necessary, and repurpose fossil fuel workers.

    This will be a challanging job and hopefully we will hire people on Nov 8th capable of doing it.

  16. The ACP statement as excerpted fails to mention the very significant consequences of coal burning in the US, estimated at 24,000 excess deaths every year.

  17. “For instance, I foresee oblivion of our democracy if we do not stop or at least slow the pace of institutional control of this country by corporations and I think wage inequality is our single biggest domestic issue – neither of which have been discussed by Trump.”

    The people most effected by wage inequality are the very ones who are Trump supporters, with the significant exception of minorities and women who are finally seeing him as he really is. Crime, drug use/selling, lashing out at anyone perceived as “other”, are the actions of desperate, fear-driven, irrational people, looking for a way up and out. The ladder has been removed by the wealthy/politically powerful.

  18. Well Marv; it is just as you have predicted for months. Trump finally announced to the world who is running the entire campaign against him and who has brought out all those lying women. That “Global Power”, that “Global Conspiracy”….the Jews. Golly darn; if you had E-mailed or tweeted him months ago you could have saved all of us a lot of stressful days and nights…and listening to his crap. He had his other half, Pence, prepare the way by announcing yesterday that Trump would reveal the source of his problems. We will all sleep better tonight with this knowledge to console us; it isn’t those lying women, the Blacks, the Mexicans, the Muslims or those dangerous refugees from Syria…it isn’t even Pence’s LGBTQs or ISIS. It has been those pesky Jews all along.

    But; wait a minute, where have we heard all this before? Oh yeah; it was that little German guy, or was he Austrian, with the funny mustache who knew where to place the blame for all of Europe’s problems years ago. And had the “final solution”. This rerun will be no more popular than it was during the first showing and we know the signs to look for.

    Actually Marv; I did expect anti-Semitism from Trump but this has gone beyond even his level of idiocy.

  19. JoAnn,

    Well Marv; it is just as you have predicted for months. Trump finally announced to the world who is running the entire campaign against him and who has brought out all those lying women. That “Global Power”, that “Global Conspiracy”….the Jews.

    Earlier today in my post, I made the statement that “THE MAN MADE TSUNAMI [that Trump is “surfing”] HAS A FATAL WEAKNESS. I guess my timing is pretty good. The weakness that the Tsunami has is that it has lost the ability to effectively use anti-Semitism.

    When Trump first started his campaign, he began with anti-Semitism. Remember the boycott of Macy’s led by Move-on because of Trump’s anti-Semitic statements? He swatted them away like a gnat. I hope you don’t take this wrong, but screwing around with Move-on is not the same thing as screwing around with me. I don’t think Trump realizes that fact.

  20. All that’s been revealed – or should I say confirmed – and yet there are still those who BELIEVE that return to the past entitled race, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation is possible to the point where they blindly follow the chief deplorable into the promised alternative reality.

    The inevitable future will be challanging enough but having so many who worship problems rather than solve them deplete the forces for progress.

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