Responding to Climate Change Will Benefit Human Health Now

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The more greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere, the more we can expect the planet to warm, resulting in more severe extreme weather and health impacts. We can take action to:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions

  • Increase the planet’s ability to absorb greenhouse gases

  • Improve community resilience to climate impacts

  • Address vulnerabilities to health risks

Often, these actions provide immediate health, environmental, economic, or other benefits today while also reducing potential impacts of climate change in the future. Many of these actions are considered “win-win” strategies because they will provide multiple benefits to society even if future climate change has less impact than is currently expected.

“Win-win” actions to reduce climate change



Develop compact, mixed-use city, town, and village centers with safe and complete pedestrian and bicycling facilities

  • Increased physical activity

  • Improved access to jobs, businesses, and other destinations

  • Reduced vehicle emissions due to less travel

  • Improved air quality

Increase use of public transit, vanpools, and carpools

  • Money savings from reduced vehicle fuel costs

  • Reduced emissions due to fewer vehicles on the road

  • Improved air quality

Increase energy efficiency of buildings and vehicles

  • Increased indoor comfort with lower heating and cooling costs

  • Money savings from reduced vehicle fuel costs

  • Reduced emissions due to less energy usage

  • Improved air quality

Switch to local, clean energy sources

  • Reduced emissions from burning fossil fuels

  • Increased support for the local energy economy

  • Improved air quality

Buy food and other goods from local sources

  • Reduced emissions due to less long-distance shipping of goods

  • Increased support for local businesses

Plant trees and develop green stormwater infrastructure

  • Increased carbon storage in plants and soil

  • Improved water quality

  • Reduced risk of flooding

  • Improved community aesthetics

  • Reduced urban heat effect and risk for heat-related illnesses

  • Reduced air conditioning costs

  • Reduced emissions due to less air conditioning usage

How to Adapt to Climate Change

Improving Health Through Transportation

Changing how we use transportation in Vermont is one of the ways we can reduce greenhouse gases and improve health. Vermont's Comprehensive Energy Plan sets goals to increase the number of electric vehicles, reduce driving alone, and increasing walking, biking and bus trips. Learn more about the health benefits we could see by meeting these goals by 2050 and find out more about how we estimated those benefits.

Weatherization + Health

Homes can be made more energy efficient through weatherization strategies like adding insulation and sealing air leaks. Weatherization saves money on energy bills while making homes more healthy and comfortable. Learn more about the health benefits of home weatherization and find a more detailed technical report.

Tools for Communities and Institutions

Here is a list of tools for communities and institutions to help adapt to climate change challenges:

What You Can Do

Your “carbon footprint” is the estimate of the effect that your day-to-day activities have on the climate — the greenhouse gas emissions associated with your daily activities. You can estimate your carbon footprint, by using the EPA Carbon Footprint Calculator.

There are many ways we can reduce our individual carbon footprints. Learn more about what you can do to help you get on the way to a cleaner, greener, healthier life.