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Medical Anthropology

Discover Research on The Medical Anthropology of Climate Change: Eco-Risks and the Body Environmental


Elizabeth Cartwright

A major agenda item at the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva, May 20-28, 2019, is health, environment and climate change, with discussions on the draft WHO global strategy on these linked topics (A72/15). Anthropology encompasses the long view of how cultures and environments change. Our work can provide the time depth needed for a rich understanding of the health effects of atmospheric and ocean warming, shifting weather patterns, and the breakdown of biological and social systems large and small. Medical anthropologists are poised to document the human costs of floods, fires, droughts and other catastrophic events, as well as the slowly shifting supplies of fresh water, clean air and adequate food. Our anthropological eyes on the ground are needed for contextual, local and critical understandings of how human lifestyles of the 21st century are creating climate change, as I examine in my introduction to this Virtual Special Issue.

Three articles are specifically concerned with climate change and its impact on the quality of life on our planet: Vincanne Adams and colleagues (2011) on Hurricane Katrina; Chris Alley and Johannes Sommerfeld (2014) on vector borne diseases; and Laura Eichelberger (2014) on water insecurity in Arctic Alaska. Another two articles draw attention to environmental vulnerability: Alex Nading (2017) on chemical interventions for health in urban Nicaragua; and Megan Wainwright (2017) on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Uruguay.

Read on to discover the research.

Medical Anthropology - The Medical Anthropology of Climate Change: Eco-Risks and the Body Environmental

Article TitleAuthor(s)Journal TitleVolumeIssue
The Medical Anthropology of Climate Change: Eco-Risks and the Body Environmental Elizabeth CartwrightMedical Anthropology
Sensing the airs: The cultural context for breathing and breathlessness in UruguayMegan WainwrightMedical Anthropology364
Local biologies, leaky things, and the chemical infrastructure of global healthAlex M. NadingMedical Anthropology362
"I feel suffocated:" Understandings of climate change in an inner city heat islandMerrill Singer, Jose Hasemann and Abigail RaynorMedical Anthropology356
Spoiling and sustainability: Technology, water insecurity, and visibility in Arctic AlaskaLaura EichelbergerMedical Anthropology 336
Infectious disease in times of social and ecological changeChristopher Alley and Johannes SommerfeldMedical Anthropology332
Aging disaster: Mortality, vulnerability, and long-term recovery among Katrina survivorsVincanne Adams, Sharon R.Kaufman, Taslim van Hattum and Sandra MoodyMedical Anthropology303