The Johns Hopkins
Bloomberg School of Public Health has launched a new
educational Web site that focuses on global warming and
other environmental threats and their links to human
health. EcoHealth, which can be found at
www.ecohealth101.org is for students, teachers and
anyone interested in understanding the relationship between
our health and the health of our planet.
Presented in a visually vibrant and lively format,
EcoHealth offers cutting-edge science based on
graduate-level course material from Johns Hopkins. The site
features photos, diagrams, maps, video clips,
standards-based lesson plans, a news page and a glossary
with many terms not yet found in household dictionaries.
The launch of the Web site, which was more than two
years in the making, coincides with the release of the
Hollywood thriller The Day After Tomorrow, which
depicts massive destruction caused by rapid global climate
"The film's premise is based on global warming theory,
whereby the infusion of fresh water into the North Atlantic
from the melting of Greenland's glaciers stops Gulf Stream
water circulation," said EcoHealth project leader Jonathan
Patz, an assistant professor of
environmental health sciences at the Bloomberg School.
"This is a low-probability scenario, but climate change in
the real world is a significant concern.
"Few people understand how global warming can affect
their own health and the health of the planet," he
continued. "Our Web site is an in-depth educational
resource, particularly engaging for students and teachers
in middle and high schools. The timing of the movie release
is coincidental but fortunate for our Web site."
Marjorie L. Share, creative and content director of
EcoHealth, said, "It is vital for students of all ages to
discuss issues that directly influence their lives and
health. We believe that the EcoHealth Web site helps sort
the science from the sound bites and demonstrates the
connections between human health and environmental changes
in our own backyard and on the other side of the world,"
said Share, former director of education at the Smithsonian
Institution and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
"Students and teachers who have tested the site have been
The Pan American Health Organization and World Health
Organization are partners on the Web site; a Spanish
translation of the site will be online later this fall.
EcoHealth covers five major topics:
Taking Our Temperature
looks at how climate change can spark extreme weather,
including violent storms, floods, droughts and hurricanes;
the risk of new epidemics, among them cholera, dengue
fever, SARS, West Nile virus, malaria and Chagas' disease;
and why El Nino offers a "sneak preview" of our climate's
Solutions to Global Warming
explains how scientists discovered the ozone hole, the
international and individual efforts to protect the ozone
layer and related health effects.
Unbalancing Act addresses
modern agriculture, deforestation, urbanization and
construction of dams--and their effect on biodiversity and
the spread of disease; how plants are nature's medicine;
and secrets of animal behavior that could boost human
What's Left to Eat? focuses
on water scarcity, food supplies, malnutrition and the
costs of food; the promises and perils of genetic
engineering, industrial farming, reliance on chemicals and
the growth of fish farming; and the crucial role that
worms, bees and nematodes play on even the most
Our Small World looks at
issues related to globalization, such as fighting diseases
without borders, policing pollution in a global era and
understanding the "bio" in bioterrorism.
Funding for EcoHealth was provided by the Gottesman
Fund, New York Community Trust, U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, Overbrook Foundation, Consortium for
Conservation Medicine, Wildlife Trust, Johns Hopkins
Technology Transfer Seed Grant Fund, Johns Hopkins Center
for a Livable Future and the Johns Hopkins Program on
Health Effects of Global Environmental Change.