Climate change is defined as a long-term shift in weather conditions that are identified by changes in temperature, precipitation, winds, and other indicators. Climate change is impacting the lives and health of people in our community around the world in various ways, including:
- Heat-related illnesses and deaths due to more frequent, severe and longer heat waves;
- Illness and injury due to extreme weather events (e.g. storms, floods);
- Worsening respiratory illnesses and increased risk of cardiovascular disease due to air pollution and increase in pollen;
- Increased incidence of vector-borne diseases transmitted through ticks and insects (e.g. Lyme Disease and West Nile Virus);
- Increased risk of food- and water-borne diseases due to contamination from heavy rainfall;
- More cases of sunburns, skin cancers, cataracts and eye damage due to increased UV exposure;
- Increased rate of mental health issues after extreme weather events and from climate change anxiety; and
- Impact on food availability and cost due to effect of extreme weather on local and imported food crops.
In 2019, both the City of Brantford and the County of Brant declared a "climate change emergency." In doing so, they have committed to take action against climate change together with many other municipalities across Canada and around the world. The Brant County Health Unit has also identified climate change as a significant health risk to residents and are seeking information which can be used to guide efforts to address the growing risks to health.
At BCHU, we are currently:
- Assessing local health impacts of climate change and vulnerable populations at increased risk.
- Supporting our communities to mitigate and adapt to the impacts that climate change will have on the populations of Brantford and the County of Brant.
- BCHU will be actively engaging with municipal stakeholders, community members, and the broader public health community to increase awareness of climate change through mitigation and adaptation strategies.
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