Award for scientist who warned of climate change effects on health
- Credit: Ken Leeder
A Dartmouth Park scientist has been honoured for being one of the first to warn that changes to the natural environment have dangerous implications for human health.
Sir Andrew Haines has been awarded the 2022 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.
Andy has worked for more than 30 years to understand the impacts of climate change on human health, and how to mitigate them.
The Tyler Prize is awarded to recognise the scientific contributions and leadership of environmental problem solvers.
Andy, a Dartmouth Park resident and professor of environmental change and public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), said: “It is a great honour and privilege to be selected as the recipient of the 2022 Tyler Prize. I would like to pay tribute to the many outstanding colleagues with whom I have had the privilege of working and from whom I have learnt so much.
“This award reflects the growing awareness that climate change isn’t just about damaging the environment. From the effects of extreme heat and wildfires to effects on infectious disease transmission, food supply, migration, poverty, climate change can affect health in so many ways.
“Our future depends on taking urgent action, to adapt to the changes we are already experiencing and to cut the greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change.”
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Professor Liam Smeeth, director of LSHTM, said: “Huge congratulations to Andy for this much deserved recognition. Andy has dedicated his career to improving the lives of others, and over the last three decades has put the impact of climate change on human health in the spotlight. Thanks to his efforts, the world is waking up to this global emergency and LSHTM has become a world-leader in the field of planetary health.”
Andy worked as a GP and researcher, and then in 1991 he was one of the first people to warn that the changes expected in the world's climate would worsen health in many ways, writing in the British Medical Journal that "more resources, and some fundamental changes in policy, are needed to avert potential catastrophe".
He was among the first to research the health benefits of low-carbon actions – including cycling, walking and using public transport – as well as using clean, renewable energy and eating a diet low in red meat and high in fruit and vegetables.