Dr. Wendy Ring, a public health doctor who won notoriety last year by touring the U.S. on a bicycle publicizing public health threats caused by climate change, spoke at a lecture entitled “Public Health and Climate Change” at Old Dominion University on Friday, Oct. 25 in Webb Center.
Ring is a family physician who has dedicated her life to as she says, “…work with those who fall between the gaps of the healthcare system.” She went on to state that everyone is affected by climate change whether they believe it or not. To support her point, she spoke on the four universal needs that climate change affects : air, water, food, and shelter.
She suggested that as temperatures rise, so do ozone levels. These increased ozone levels cause asthma in humans, especially children. Ring also cited West Nile virus and Dengue fever (both carried by mosquitoes) as illnesses made more serious by a rise in temperature due to climate change. She explained that when the temperature is higher, mosquitoes breed more quickly, consume human blood more frequently and carry a virus that multiplies faster.
When talking about a solution to the climate change problem, Ring said government intervention was the answer.
“Why can’t we just tell people to eat right and be active? Because it doesn’t work!..[There] needs to be a federal policy.”, she said.
After the lecture was a discussion panel which included Ring, public health specialists, an EVMS/ODU student and a climate lobbyist.
For those interested in learning more about climate change, “Safe Coast Virginia”, a community action conference on climate change, energy and adaptation, will be held in the Norfolk Botanical Garden on Nov. 16.
More information can be found at safecoastva.eventbrite.com.