SOURCE: Marin Independent Journal

DATE: April 17, 2019

SNIP: Climate change is already negatively affecting the health of Marin residents and within 15 years attendant sea-level rise could threaten the county’s shoreline buildings, roads and original utility systems.

This was the sobering message Marin supervisors received after Supervisor Kate Sears requested an update on the local health impacts of climate change and efforts to prepare for sea- level rise.

“The important question to ask right now is when will climate change begin to affect the health of our community,” Kathy Koblick, a director in Marin County’s division of public health, told supervisors. “The answer is: it is now.”

In her report Tuesday, she noted that over the last five years the county health department has issued at least seven health advisories due to conditions aggravated by climate change. The advisories ranged from alerts about air polluted by smoke to the presence of infectious diseases such as West Nile and Zika virus.

Koblick said many of the health impacts are the consequences of the extreme weather – floods, drought, and extreme heat – caused by climate change. The fallout can result in increased displacement from homes, injury, indoor mold, vector-borne and infectious disease, food insecurity due to lower crop yields and disruptions in food supplies, water contamination, and mental health impacts.

A vulnerability assessment released by the county in June 2017 showed that in just 15 years flooding due to sea-level rise could inundate some 700 buildings across 5,000 acres in Marin, affecting the lives of tens of thousands of residents.