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Climate change and human health: IES-LUC 5th Annual Climate Change Conference

15 February 2018

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The 21st century challenges of climate change and human health are the focus of the fifth Annual Climate Change Conference  and hosted by the Institute of Environment Sustainability of Loyola University Chicago on 15 and 16 March 2018 in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

As the changing climate continues to disrupt other countries, the impacts have reached the US as eight consecutive storms that strengthened into powerful hurricanes hit the country last year during a 45-day period.  Harvey devastated Houston with rainfall-triggered flooding and cost US$ 125 billion in damages in August 2017, followed by Hurricane Irma, the strongest storm on record to exist in the open Atlantic region that devastated the Florida Keys and left US$ 64.8 billion in damages.  In September, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and much of the Caribbean with damages of US$ 91.6 billion.  The next month, Hurricane Nate caused flooding and power outages in the central Gulf Coast with damages of US$ 207 million.  Fatalities and survivors were high.  When powerful hurricanes hit, these upset the economy, disrupt food systems, limit access to clean water, and put stress on the public health infrastructure.

The climate change conference will focus on climate change as a key driver for public health issues and features Gina McCarthy, former Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, as the keynote speaker.  Four concurrent panel discussion sessions on 16 March tackle the following: the movement “We Are Still In” and why and how US leaders remain committed to Paris; Canada’s approach to climate change; oil, fracking, man camps, and human health along the oil pipelines; and climate refugees.

Ecojesuit and its activities will be shared by Pedro Walpole SJ, Ecojesuit coordinator, in one of the conference’s working sessions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) and Jesuit affiliates. The AJCU sessions on 15 March feature the following: Ecojesuits: An Introduction (with Pedro Walpole SJ), Ignatian Pedagogy for Sustainability (with Dr Kathleen Smythe and Dr Jay Leighter), and the Ecological Ignatian Examen (with Cecilia Calvo, senior advisor on environmental justice with the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the US, and who is part of the Ecojesuit team), and sustainable purchasing agreements.

And with many participants flying in to join the conference, Loyola University Chicago also recognizes that one of the most significant sources of carbon pollution is air travel.  In meeting the goals of A Just Future, Loyola’s Climate Action Plan, information on options to reduce emissions is also shared.

For further information, please visit the conference website.

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