Coming soon! State of Georgia Climate & Health.
Check back for an interactive list on Georgia demographics and legislative activities.
Ways to Take Action Now:
Call Your Legislator. Even if you only leave a message, or speak with an aide, this is the most effective way to get policymakers' attention.
|Email Your Legislator. If legislators get enough emails on the same subject, they start to pay attention.|
|Tweet Your Legislator. Social media is a great way to get attention.|
Key Issues/Take Action Now: https://www.protectgeorgia.org/#/
Advocacy: Add the Clinician voice to the climate policy discussion in Georgia. Influence state, local, and federal policies to protect vulnerable communities from climate health risks now and in the future.
Community Collaboration: Partner with individuals, groups, and communities to systematically solve existing and emerging climate concerns that improve health outcomes.
Education: Develop and organize opportunities for Clinician Education, to enhance climate health literacy among Georgia Clinicians, and Patient Education, to improve public understanding of the ways climate affects health to encourage.
Media Relations: Present Clinicians with opportunities to influence public opinion and policy – via lawmaker meetings, letters, media relations, presentation opportunities, or other means. Emphasize the message that climate solutions are health solutions. Emphasize the positive health benefits from climate actions.
Recruitment: Educate and empower Clinicians with confidence, support, and material they need to “take action”. Create shareable tools and materials.
Resource Development: Identify resources and activities that contribute to fundraising and grant writing in support of our work.
Macon citizens have serious concerns about the proposed building of one of the largest plastic-to-fuel facility in the world at a cost of $680 million dollars. This proposed facility will increase the burden of air pollution on a community in Macon and also negatively impact air quality beyond the borders of that community. Soil and water contamination are also risks. The concerns about this proposal were great enough that the mayor of Macon withdrew his support. If you live in or near this part of the state, please consider joining our working group on this issue. Fact sheet
GCCA continues to work with partners around the state to support the safe disposal of coal ash.
Clean energy initiatives that reduce our state's dependency on fossil fuels remain a cornerstone of our advocacy.
Have you heard of IRP, also known as an Integrated Resource Plan? Georgia Power has to prepare an update to their IRP every three years. The IRP outlines how Georgia Power will generate the electricity it will sell to its customers for the next 20 years. Whether that electricity comes from clean, renewable sources or from dirty fossil fuels like coal and gas, is a decision you can be a part of. More Information.
- Georgia Threats -
Georgia's Climate Threats: https://statesatrisk.org/georgia/all
Coal Ash is the sludge-like waste left over from burning coal for electricity, and it contains toxins like arsenic, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals. Currently, the majority of the 6 million tons of coal ash that has been produced in Georgia is being stored in 29 unlined ash ponds across the state. Most of the ash ponds are located adjacent to Georgia’s rivers and streams, from the banks of the Chattahoochee River, to Lake Sinclair, to the Savannah River on the coast, and the Flint River in South Georgia.
Recent disasters in surrounding states spilled toxic coal ash into rivers and across people’s land in the southeast. And in recent years, pollution monitoring by power companies shows that these unlined pits are leaking and continuing to contaminate Georgia’s groundwater. In addition to the coal ash being stored along Georgia’s rivers and lakes, coal ash produced by surrounding states is being shipped and stored in landfills across Georgia without thorough monitoring, or public notification.
Plant Vogtle is a nuclear power plant located in Burke County, just 30 miles outside of Augusta, GA. In 2009, two additional nuclear reactors (3 and 4) were approved for construction and scheduled for completion in 2016 and 2017. After several setbacks, and the bankruptcy of the original lead contractor, Westinghouse, Georgia Power received approval from the Public Service Commission in 2017 to manage the project themselves.
Now, the only two nuclear units still under construction in the United States, Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 are more than 5 years behind schedule and $4 billion dollars over budget. Georgia Power has already collected $2 billion from customers, most of which is shareholder profit. As Georgia Power continues to collect these profits as this project is delayed, all customers, including faith communities, schools, hospitals, and non-profits will be forced to pay higher electric bills. Furthermore, this project only continues to increase the energy burden that Georgian’s struggling to pay their electric bills already face. The average household has already paid over $500 in extra fees on its electric bill, and no electricity has been generated from these promised reactors.
Offshore Drilling. In November of 2018, a federal decision opened more than 1-billion acres in the Arctic and the East Coast, including the entire coast of Georgia, for seismic testing and offshore drilling. The risks associated with this type of testing and drilling would cause irreparable damage to Georgia’s wildlife and water resources.
The recent Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010 covered the gulf coast and waterways with almost 5 million barrels of oil. To this day, the invaluable wildlife and shoreline resources of coastal communities have not fully recovered. Georgia’s coast should not be subject to an identical disaster. Home to more than 150 high priority plant and animal species, Georgia’s 100-mile coast boasts some of the most unique ecosystems in the world. Furthermore, an oil spill on Georgia’s coast would not be contained, but would immediately spread through the Ogeechee, Altamaha, and Satilla watersheds affecting inland communities’ drinking water resources and wildlife.
|Extreme Heat. More than 310,000 people living in Georgia are especially vulnerable to extreme heat. Georgia currently averages about 20 dangerous heat days a year. By 2050, it is projected to see more than 90 such days a year.
|Storms & Hurricanes
|Inland & Coastal Flooding
|Sea Level Rise
|Drought. Drought has a big impact on the production of peanuts, pecans, peaches, and the sweet Vidalia onion, all of which grow in southeastern Georgia. The state is the nation’s number one producer of peanuts, pecans, and peaches. People living in drought conditions may be more likely to encounter certain dangerous situations that range from dust storms to flash floods. Drought conditions greatly reduce air quality. This poor air quality affects people’s health in a number of ways. Drought can also cause long-term public health problems, including: Shortages of drinking water and poor quality drinking water; Impacts on air quality, sanitation and hygiene, and food and nutrition; and vector-borne disease, such as West Nile Virus carried by mosquitoes breeding in stagnant water.
|Wildfire. Wildfire smoke exposure increases respiratory and cardiovascular hospitalizations and medical visits for lung illnesses. It also increases the need for treatments for asthma, bronchitis, and other breathing problems.
|Water and Food Borne Illness. Foodborne illnesses are a burden on public health and contribute significantly to the cost of health care. Each year foodborne illnesses sicken 48 million Americans (approximately 17% of people in the United States) and lead to 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Campylobacter and Salmonella continue to be the most commonly reported foodborne bacteria.
|Vector-Borne Disease. Zoonotic or Vector-Borne diseases (also called zoonoses) are diseases of animals that can be transmitted to humans. Many vector-borne diseases require a vector (such as a mosquito or tick) in order to be transmitted from animals to humans. Examples in Georgia include rabies, West Nile virus, and infestations such as head lice. https://dph.georgia.gov/zoonoticvector-borneinfestations
|Mental Health Impacts. Climate change and related disasters cause anxiety-related responses as well as chronic and severe mental health disorders. Extreme weather events have also been associated with increases in aggressive behavior and domestic violence. Exposure to extreme heat or other Georgia climate issues may lead to increased use of alcohol to cope with stress, increases in hospital and emergency room admissions for people with mental health or psychiatric conditions, and an increase in suicide.
The need for mental health services increases in the aftermath of a climate-related disaster.
|Urban Heat Islands. Atlanta is the 19th fastest-warming city in the U.S.
Contact Your Government Officials:
Find your local state Legislators: https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/
U.S. House of Representatives: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
U.S. Senate: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Georgia Public Service Commission:
Toll-free in Georgia (outside Metro Atlanta): (800) 282-5813
Metro Atlanta: (404) 656-4501
Georgia House of Representatives Natural Resources & Environment Committee: http://www.house.ga.gov/Committees/en-US/committee.aspx?Committee=98&Session=24
Georgia Senate Committee on Natural Resources & the Environment: http://www.senate.ga.gov/committees/en-US/Committee.aspx?Committee=139&Session=27