Climate change is the defining issue for the 21st century. Climate and weather variables affect the air people breathe, the food they eat, the water they drink, and the chances that they will get infected with a life-threatening disease. Under business-as-usual scenarios, it is estimated that between 2030 to 2050, climate change will cause an additional 250 000 deaths annually. Health systems must be made more resilient, especially in developing countries. There is a need for an interdisciplinary and holistic approach among governments, communities and individuals coupled with changes in behaviour and practices in order to reduce the impact of climate change and ensure sustainability.