Climate Change and Public Health: What does climate change mean for the people of Mongolia?
16 Days ◦ 3 Instructors
June 19- July 4, 2023
This course will focus on how climate change is impacting public health in urban environments and rural communities in Mongolia. We will visit sites in Mongolia to meet with local health officials and climate scientists to gain an understanding of how climate change (hotter days, more wildfire, colder winters, drought) is threatening human wellbeing. Mongolia, with its vast landscapes, limited infrastructure, and large indigenous population, is particularly vulnerable to climate change. You’ll come away from this course with a good understanding of climate and health issues facing this remote region as well as the social-economic disparities associated with climate-change responses. Hopefully, you’ll also see new opportunities to help chart a resilient and equitable future for Mongolia as well as for your own country.
Warmer temperatures are bringing more fires, drought, and extreme weather events to regions around the world, including Mongolia, and these changes are threatening water supplies, natural resources, and the people who depend upon them. Participants in this course will have the opportunity to spend time in the field with experts in climate science, public health, and natural resource management, and to examine firsthand the connections between climate change, the environment and human health in one of the most wild and scenic places on Earth. Together, we’ll witness some of the changes underway in a range of settings from Mongolia’s arid lands to its forested mountains. We’ll also meet with healthcare practitioners, resource specialists, and community leaders to gain insight about the climate-related health and environmental challenges facing rural and urban communities.
This course will focus on how climate change is impacting public health in urban environments and rural communities in Mongolia. We will visit sites in Mongolia to gain an understanding of how climate change (hotter days, more wildfire, colder winters, drought) is threatening lives, livelihoods, and environments. Mongolia, with its vast landscapes, limited infrastructure, and large pastoralist population, is particularly vulnerable to climate change. You’ll come away from this course with a good understanding of climate and health issues facing this remote region of the world as well as the social-economic challenges associated with climate-change responses. Hopefully, you’ll also see new opportunities to chart a resilient and equitable future for Mongolia as well as for your own country.
The class will start with discussions with government, health and climate leaders in Ulaanbaatar, then travel to the countryside to see how climate change is impacting traditional nomadic practices and public health delivery in rural areas. Our travels begin with visits to urban and rural communities en route to the Eg-Uur Valley of Khovsgol Province, a region of stunning lakes and mountains. Along the way, we’ll meet with healthcare providers in rural community clinics, herders and resource specialists observing environmental change, and spiritual leaders considering the ethical issues of climate change. At the end of the course, we will travel to the arid region of Kharkhorin in the Övörkhangai Province. There will be plenty of time to learn and explore on your own.
Each student will examine a topic of their own interest, and as a group we’ll ponder some of these questions:
- What are the global and local trends in climate with regard to extreme heat, extreme cold, drought, flooding, fires and smoke?
- How has climate change affected natural resources, water and food security, and human health globally and in Mongolia?
- How are vulnerable populations affected and responding to climate change and how is indigenous knowledge offering unique perspectives for resilience?
- What are the demographic and socioeconomic trends in Mongolia and current trends in health status/services?
- What actions can health agencies, rural clinics, and health certification programs take to respond and adapt to climate change, and what messages will be most effective for clinics and communities, community planning, monitoring, policy change, and personal action?
This course is a great fit for those interested in climate science, environmental studies, global health, public health, medicine, health disparity research, ecotourism, community engagement, communications, journalism, and policy development. All are welcome as we assess together our collective global climate future.
Anticipated Course Activities
Adams A, Byron R, Maxwell B, Higgins S, Eggers M, Byron L, Whitlock C. 2021. Climate change and human health in Montana: a special report of the Montana Climate Assessment. Bozeman MT: Montana State University, Institute on Ecosystems, Center for American Indian and Rural Health Equity. 216 p. https:// doi.org/10.15788/c2h22021.