In July, scientists with NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies released a startling finding: Each of the first six months of 2016 were the warmest occurrences of their respective months in modern history.

Then in mid-November, as higher temperatures continued around the globe, the World Meteorological Organization announced it was likely that 2016 would turn out to be the hottest year ever recorded.

The new findings emphasize what science has increasingly documented in recent years: Climate change is already affecting the environment — and it is increasingly causing harm to human health.

APHA declared in November that 2017 will be the Year of Climate Change and Health

While some people think of climate change as something that is far off in the future, “it is impacting people right now,” according to APHA member David Fukuzawa, MSA, MDiv, managing director of the Kresge Foundation’s Health and Human Services Program. Through its environmental program, the foundation is working to help communities build resilience and protect public health in the face of climate change.

“The impact on human health needs to be elevated in the discussion on climate change,” Fukuzawa told The Nation’s Health.

Armed with growing evidence and calls for action, APHA declared in November that 2017 will be the Year of Climate Change and Health. Made possible in part through the support of the Kresge Foundation, the observance will be used to increase understanding on climate change by harnessing the strength of the public health and environmental workforce.

To continue reading this article from the January 2017 issue of The Nation’s Health, visit the newspaper online. Visit the APHA website to learn more about the Year of Climate Change and Health.