HMA HEALTH AD WELL-BE A ERA EER SCARCT AD CLMATE CHAE1 THE PST CARB READER SERES
In the past hundred years, we have created lifestyles,communities, food systems, water systems, transporta-tion systems, and health systems that are entirely relianton cheap and plentiful oil and that assume a favorableand stable climate. Our health and well-being havebeen shaped by these lifestyles and systems, but theyhave not necessarily been well served: Climate changeand the threat of energy scarcity now pose serious chal-lenges to our “health system,” specifically health careservices and public health services.The consequences of climate change and energy scar-city will be wide ranging and complex, will affect allaspects of our lives, and will touch all people—somemore so than others. Energy scarcity will result pri-marily in reduced capacity, capabilities, and servicesin the health care and public health systems. Climatechange will cause new and increased demands on ourcurrent capabilities and services. Without preparation,early responses to these challenges will likely be moti- vated simply by rising and volatile energy prices—andcharacterized by trial and error, incorrect decisions,and highly politicized debate. Fortunately, we can plan ahead to provide communities with the essen-tial capabilities and resources they’ll need to be resil-ient, safeguarding individual and family health in anincreasingly uncertain future.
Health and ts Many Determinants
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or inrmity.
—World Health Organization, 1948
Physical, Mental, and social Well-Being
A denition of health as merely the absence of diseaseis much too limiting. e broad denition of healthabove was formulated more than sixty years ago andhas remained widely useful. Although
healthis important to well-being, humans also need
health, which starts with the absence of mental illnessbut also includes such concepts as freedom from fear of personal harm, freedom from fear about not meeting basic needs (food, water, shelter, safety), and so on. Inaddition, we are
creatures and require a sense of community: stimulating, trusting, and regular interac-tions with others, plus a sense of usefulness, satisfaction,and security in what we do and how we live our livesas members of groups. Without all three kinds of well-being—physical, mental, and social—we are not healthy. When health and well-being have been definedbroadly, it becomes easier to understand what thehealth impacts of energy scarcity and climate changeare likely to be. Many things that are not consideredto be “health related”
are nevertheless importantdeterminants of health; all of the factors below contrib-ute to physical, mental, and social well-being—or lackthereof—and each of these is likely to be influenced bythe coming energy and climate challenges:
Community economic vitality
Dependability and affordability of basic needs likefood and water