Oct 20, 2022 –
On October 10, Nathaniel Matthews-Trigg, an advisory committee member of the New Mexico Environmental Public Health Association, gave a presentation at the New Mexico Health and Human Services Committee interim legislative committee on the importance of funding initiatives related to climate change and its impacts on the public health of New Mexicans. The New Mexico Department of Health and some other public health and environmental organizations discuss this concept of a New Mexico Climate Health bill.
As we all know, climate change is creating drier, warmer, and less predictable weather in New Mexico, which has significant implications for the health and safety of New Mexican communities. Heat waves lead to increased heat stroke, heart attacks, and respiratory distress. Wildfires produce smoke which has been linked to childhood asthma and other respiratory diseases, and wildfire burn scars can lead to flash flooding and threaten drinking water supplies. Warmer winters and increased greenhouse gas emissions mean longer and more extreme allergy seasons. Diseases such as valley fever, caused by a fungus found in dust, are projected to increase.
We can be proud that our state has passed some significant legislation and regulations related to climate change and environmental protection. However, we are behind other states in passing legislation that addresses climate-related public health notifications, data gathering, resilience and education programs, and other resources for tribes and communities that will be challenged by climate public health emergencies. We believe the right time for climate public health legislation is now, especially given the extreme events of the last year here in New Mexico. A 60-day legislative will commence in January of 2023.
We look forward to furthering discussions with legislators and all stakeholders involved in environmental public health issues.
Presentation link: https://nmephn.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/FINAL-PRESENTATION-SLIDES-for-LHHS-10-6-2022-1.pdf