Harvard study findings should spur rapid action

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Photo courtesy of Pexels/Vitaly Vlasov.

A recent study from Harvard University, in collaboration with the University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester, and University College London, continues to reinforce the message we must no longer ignore: we are paying to use fossil fuels with our lives and our health, and our most vulnerable populations are suffering at higher rates.

The study found that one in five deaths can be attributed to fossil fuel air pollution. …


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By Emma Sirois

We’re counting on the Biden-Harris administration to apply the many lessons we learned last year to create policy that supports a more inclusive, healthy, and resilient food system. From embracing food-related climate change solutions to supporting and empowering BIPOC farmers, here are the most important issues and policy actions we recommend the administration prioritize for the health of our communities and planet.

1) Embrace food-related climate change solutions

The food system is a key contributor to climate change from the way our food is produced, transported, consumed, and disposed. Interventions in this system are critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and meeting our…


Health Care Culinary Contest finalists revealed, winner to be announced in March

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Health care culinary professionals across the country are taking their menus to new levels in creativity and flavor, all powered by plants.

Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth teamed up with Menus of Change, an initiative of The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to host our third Health Care Culinary Contest.

These five chefs, our Health Care Culinary Contest finalists, persevered to cook and serve healthy food when our patients and communities needed it the most.

Meet the chefs and hear the stories behind their delicious #plantforward recipes.

  • Davis Hospital and Medical Center’s sweet potato tempura and black bean tacos
  • MetroHealth System’s Spanish frijoles…


New California culinary center creates 150 living-wage jobs, distributes 50,000 meals daily

By Leah Potter

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Fabio Edwards, lead farmer at Dig Deep Farms, says he’s passionate about providing families with healthy, affordable food. (Dmitryi Khlynin/Dig Deep Farms)

Fabio Edwards said working at Dig Deep Farms — a Bay Area-based nonprofit in California that provides fresh produce to communities and institutions like hospitals and schools — helped him discover his passion: getting healthy, sustainable food to families in need.

“It’s important people not only have a place to get produce, but also learn how to grow their own, which is what we provide — we help people learn how to grow food,” he said. “It’s important that they witness that they can provide for themselves, and they can feed their families.”

After completing an agriculture…


Recommendations for the incoming Biden-Harris administration

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Photo courtesy of Pexels/Aaron Kittredge.

The outbreak of COVID-19 complicated the response to climate-driven extreme weather events, from providing cooling centers for extreme heat while maintaining social distancing to having enough N95 masks for both health care workers and firefighters. The good news is there are common solutions to addressing both crises that will support the needed economic recovery, build a more resilient health care system, and address the health and economic disparities in the United States.

The health care sector is responsible for 8.5% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions with hospitals generating over one-third of those emissions. But health care facilities can implement…


From the 1930s to the late 1960s, Chisso Corporation dumped mercury into Minamata Bay, poisoning multiple generations in the coastal Japanese city. The world was put on notice about the toxicity of a chemical commonly found in household and health care products.

Minamata Bay in 1974
Minamata Bay in 1974
Minamata Bay in 1974 [National Land Image Information (Color Aerial Photography), Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of Japan]

Fast-forward three decades to 1996. Gary Cohen and the founding leaders of Health Care Without Harm were piloting approaches to address ubiquitous and discrete intersections between human and environmental health. …


Forging a new social contract in the face of global crises

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Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

“Changed conditions ahead.” This is what signs read in parts of California, not due to construction, but to warn drivers that around the bend they will bear witness to the destruction from wildfires that engulfed the entire West Coast just a few months ago. It means you should prepare to see black hillsides, charred forests and landscapes, and burn marks where fires crossed the road coming shockingly close to undamaged houses or the blackened remains of homes where families once lived.

That sign could also be the tagline for 2020. A record-breaking number of hurricanes, flooding, and severe storms in…


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We can harness health care’s enormous purchasing power to heal the environmental and social conditions that are making people sick in the first place.

Health care sits at the epicenter of the COVID-19 and climate crises, caring for those who are stricken by the virus or, find themselves in the paths of wildfires, hurricanes, heat waves, and drought. Low-income communities and communities of color are suffering from the worst impacts of air pollution, extreme weather events, and the pandemic. Those who live in communities that experience the worst air pollution are more susceptible to extreme respiratory symptoms related to COVID-19…


Our food future can’t be business as usual

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by Lucia Sayre

Perhaps one of the most concerning impacts of COVID-19 is that more than 54 million people in the United States may experience food insecurity in 2020, including a potential 18 million children, according to Feeding America.

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed critical food disparities in our communities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the vulnerabilities of our communities and our anchor institutions to major disruptions. Every sector of the economy has been shuttered, severely strained, or outright failed with dire outcomes for the entire country and especially for low-income communities of color. …


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In the final days leading up to the Massachusetts House vote on H.4912: An act creating a 2050 roadmap to a clean and thriving economy (“The 2050 Roadmap Bill”) two members of Health Care Without Harm’s Health Care Climate Council signed a letter urging lawmakers to include environmental justice protections as part of this much-anticipated climate legislation. Boston Medical Center and Mass General Brigham were two of 10 signatories stating, “Every member of our community deserves to be protected from pollution and to live in and enjoy a clean and healthy environment. …

Health Care Without Harm

Health Care Without Harm seeks to transform health care worldwide so the sector reduces its environmental footprint and becomes a leader in the global movement.

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