OUR CLIMATE IS CHANGING
Climate Change & Human Health
Our climate is changing: unpredictable severe storms, flooding, wildfires, melting glaciers and hotter days are happening more than ever before in Canada and around the world. Scientists are certain that the change we are experiencing is the result of people’s actions. Our use of fossil fuels (e.g. oil and gas) and intense agriculture has caused a build up of “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere. Normally, the earth is heated by the sun’s rays, and some of those rays get reflected back out into space. But, greenhouse gases act like a blanket that lets the sun’s rays in, and trap them close to the earth causing the temperature to rise.
Greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere in many ways including:
Burning fossil fuels for our cars, trucks, ships, trains, and planes
Burning fossil fuels for energy, and emissions from chemical reactions necessary to produce goods from raw materials
Emissions come from livestock such as cows, agricultural soils, and rice production
Burning fossil fuels like coal and natural gas to produce electricity
Residential and Commercial Heating
Burning fossil fuels
- Air pollution is worse in hotter weather, as forest fires, pollen from longer growing seasons, and dust from drought become more common. There is no “safe” amount of air pollution: any exposure increases your risk of health effects. People with existing health conditions are even more vulnerable
- Flooding can spread disease, cause property damage (including mould growth), and injuries. Care must be taken when drying out a flooded building to use fuel powered equipment only in well ventilated areas to prevent the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
- Water and food security can be affected
- Heat stress can be a medical emergency
- Mental health can be affected by extreme weather events, evacuations, and worrying about the future
- Diseases carried by ticks and mosquitos (Lyme disease, West Nile Virus) become more common
What Can I Do?
Limiting your contribution to climate change.
What you can do to limit your contribution to climate change:
- Reduce your own emissions:
- Reduce the use of your personal vehicle
- Reduce waste
- Increase your home’s efficiency
- Buy locally produced products
- Eat a plant-based diet
- Support policies for a greener economy
- Join an environmental non-governmental organization
- Be a conscious shopper. Do your research and support companies with sound environmental practices.
We provide science-based information gathered from trustworthy sources. For further reading, you can check out our sources, which include:
- United States Environmental Protection Agency: Climate Impacts on Human Health
- Government of Canada: Canada in a Changing Climate – Completed Assessment Reports
- Government of Canada: Climate Change and Health, Health Effects
- Government of Canada: Greenhouse gas emissions: inventories and reporting
- Prairie Climate Centre: Climate Atlas of Canada
- Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment: Climate Change Toolkit for Health Professionals, Factsheets
Our Policy Paper
Our asks to the Federal Government advocating and supporting changes in Canadian laws, regulations, and policies that will improve the foundations of resilient health are detailed in our policy paper.
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