World Health Day 2022: the climate crisis is also a health crisis

Working for cleaner air and a safer climate means working for the health and well-being of societies, people and non-human nature. On April 7th, World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual World Health Day campaign draws attention to critical health-related issues around the globe. This year’s theme is ‘Our planet, our health’.

According to WHO’s estimation, more than 13 million deaths around the world each year are due to avoidable environmental causes. The climate crisis is the single biggest health threat facing humanity. Together with businesses, cities, universities, NGOs, decision makers and others, ACCC is aiming to create new solutions to air quality and climate change related problems that are connected to health. Here are some recent examples of the health-related work carried out by us and our partners:

  • ACCC’s Impact Task 4 Climate neutral cities and a healthy atmosphere supports the Finnish cities with respect to the better preparedness to climate change impacts and in achieving climate neutrality. We are aiming to reach this goal by, among other things, focusing on health impacts, predictability and impacts of heatwaves, urban climate simulations, and tourism industry. You can read more about Impact Task 4 and the other 12 Impact Tasks here
  • we take part in relevant policy processes by submitting commentaries and suggestions for new legislation and policy plans on national and international levels. For example, a group of ACCC researchers recently submitted their feedback on the revision of EU Air Quality rules
  • The new project “HOPE” (Urban Innovative Action HOPE – Healthy Outdoor Premises for Everyone) is working to provide an air quality monitoring service to Helsinki citizens. ACCC’s University of Helsinki and the Finnish Meteorological Institute are contributing monitoring networks, data analysis and modeling, AI technology and data visualization to the project.
  • together with our partner Future Earth and the national committee, Future Earth Finland,, we organized a  planetary health hackathon where students from around the world looked for new solutions for challenges that are linked to climate change, biodiversity loss and human health. Future Earth Finland is currently planning a co-design workshop for actionable solutions to Planetary Health challenges relevant to Finland.
  • research on climate security shows that climate change poses direct and transition risks to physical and mental health. In 2021, one of our host organizations, Finnish Meteorological Institute, published a review on Climate Security and Finland. In collaboration with several NGOs and other civil society actors, ACCC is also launching a new Initiative for a Safer Climate. The initiative is a community-based approach aiming to create new spaces for climate discussion at the intersection of academia and civil society.