Climate change influences human health and disease in numerous ways. Some existing health threats will intensify, and new health threats will emerge. Important considerations include age, economic resources, and location. The health effects of these disruptions include increased respiratory and cardiovascular disease, injuries and premature deaths related to extreme weather events, changes in the prevalence and geographical distribution of food- and water-borne illnesses and other infectious diseases, and threats to mental health. When we think about climate change, we also need to consider health equity as these issues disproportionately affect the elderly, those living in poverty and the homeless, people who use drugs (PHUD), refugees, and/or individuals who struggle with both food and housing insecurity.
WHY IT MATTERS
The close connections between existing health disparities and greater risks from the health threats of climate change is the reason climate change and health equity must be linked. And while people are experiencing health risks now, as climate change continues, those risks will also grow. There is an increasing recognition of the impacts that climate change can have on health systems, community health, and individual health. Furthermore, marginalized communities have and will experience the effects of climate change more intensely.
THE HEALTH CENTRE CONTEXT
Health Equity requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care.
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVEDWith health care being a climate intensive service sector, and the knowledge that marginalized communities are the most effected by climate change, LIHC’s Environmental Action Committee has been created. The mission of the group is to examine our role in climate justice both internally and externally. This committee has thus far engaged with the Indigenous Strategy Group for guidance, knowledge and consultation and welcome any other staff that may have interest in joining the committee.
RESOURCES: THE LOCAL CONTEXT
Climate Change Action Plan for London
London’s new Climate Emergency Action Plan is a fundamental and required response to the City’s climate emergency declaration(External link).
As part of this plan, the City has established new near-term and longer-term goals to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Western Centre for Climate Change, Sustainable Livelihoods and Health
The Western Centre for Climate Change, Sustainable Livelihoods and Health has a broad mandate of engaging researchers, policymakers, civil society organizations and students to conduct cutting edge research and build capacity on critical environmental issues that impact humanity in the twenty-first century.
Health Equity: Middlesex London Health Unit
Communities that are designed to provide safe and equitable access to meet every day needs can have an overall positive health impact on those who may be economically or physically disadvantaged due to socially produced inequities. READ MORE.