More needed to prevent deaths from climate-change driven heat waves, fires: report
“After a record summer of heat and a dramatic season for wildfires, many Canadians have been forced to think about the future. Will unbearable heat and fires become a summertime theme in Canada, and if so, what does this mean for our health?”
“A new report into the rising health toll of longer and more intense wildfire seasons warns Canadian governments to take preparations seriously.”
“Experts say smoke from the fires can have widespread and devastating implications for human health”
“Broken temperature records and deaths from heat and wildfires. This past week, the climate emergency got real, and it doesn’t feel very good. The world seems unstable. What do we do first?”
The Globe and Mail explores some key questions as Canadians endure weather that one climatologist described as ‘almost biblical’
The National Observer : Forest fire season in Canada set to get worse — along with the health implications
Ashley Wohlgemuth remembers smoke, haze and chaos during the 2003 forest fires in her hometown of Barriere in British Columbia.
“During the fire here, it was like driving through a war zone. Everything was hazy. And all you could see was army vehicles and fire trucks everywhere,” said the fire chief.
En tant que médecins œuvrant à l’intersection de la santé humaine et de la planète, nous avons été ravies de voir le National Health Service (NHS) du Royaume-Uni s’engager à atteindre la carboneutralité d’ici 2040, avec l’ambition de réduire de 80 % son empreinte environnementale avant 2028-2032.
Discussions and plans of action around climate change are too rarely informed by the devastating health impacts of a rapidly warming planet. But if we truly seek to build a society that is resilient and prepared for public health challenges, we must apply hard-won lessons from one health emergency to our management of the next.
“Environmental racism is when unwanted hazards are imposed on Indigenous and Black communities. Industrial projects have made COVID-19 the latest pollutant—in places where people and the land are already under stress”
“From toxic waste to tailings ponds, Canada’s environmental hazards are often imposed on Indigenous and Black communities. Industrial projects have made COVID-19 the latest pollutant — in places where people and the land are already under stress”
“‘It’s a moment of crisis, but it’s also a moment of opportunity,’ one doctor says”
TORONTO STAR : Indigenous people had some of the highest rates of ER visits during 2014 Yellowknife wildfires: study
“Melaine Simba will never forget the months she spent inside her home on Ka’a’gee Tu First Nation, south of Yellowknife, with her windows tightly shut to prevent wildfire smoke from seeping in. It was the summer of 2014 and she was following public health orders to stay inside during the Northwest Territories’ worst wildfire season on record.”
“Concrete example of the impact of a warming planet on health and health systems, says Yellowknife ER doctor”
THE CONVERSATION : “COVID-19 recovery is an opportunity to tackle worsening climate crisis: New report”
“We are at a moment of overlapping planetary health emergencies: COVID-19 and climate change. Both have their origins at the intersection of humanity and the rest of the natural world, both exacerbate pre-existing health inequities and both have the ability to bring health systems and economies to their knees.”
In the media : “Skies Are Clearer and Global Pollution Is Down Because of COVID-19 — But Can We Sustain It?”
“Climate change expert Dr. Courtney Howard and Nature Climate Change scientists say we can sustain the cleaner environment we’re seeing by going greener right now.
All the social distancing, working from home and Netflix binging we’ve been doing to stay healthy and keep COVID-19 from overloading our hospitals add up to make the world cleaner.”
LA PRESSE “Dans les dernières semaines, nous avons souligné, célébré, et reconnu le travail exceptionnel des travailleurs de la santé de première ligne. D’un océan à l’autre, et à travers le monde, nous avons chanté, allumé nos lumières, frappé sur nos casseroles et dansé de la maison pour souligner les efforts et le courage de nos voisins et amis qui sont partis œuvrer dans nos centres de santé et qui ont maintenu nos services essentiels, jour comme nuit.”
LE DEVOIR “Dans les dernières semaines, nous avons souligné, célébré et reconnu le travail exceptionnel des travailleurs de la santé de première ligne.”
“By Courtney Howard and Kinari Webb
, Opinion Contributor”
In the media : “COVID-19 crisis is a tipping point. Will we invest in planetary health, or oil and gas?”
THE NATIONAL OBSERVER “When I first read about the possibility of a multibillion-dollar bailout of the oil and gas sector by the federal and Alberta governments, I was exhausted.”
“Dr. Courtney Howard, a physician, professor, and the president of the Canadian Association of the Environment, told Scary Mommy that a range of climate change factors are impacting our children, including wildfires and tick-borne diseases. These have both made the news many times over the past several years, including wildfires in California and the scary truths about living with Lyme disease.”
“This month we are featuring in our eco-maven section an inspiring and fearless ER doctor from Canada, Dr. Courtney Howard, who is not only at the frontline attending patients during the COVID-19 pandemic and took the time to answer our questions, but she has also found time in her life to advocate for planetary health, and even lead the Lancet Countdown report – in the Canadian Policy brief- with recommendations for a healthy response to climate change. “
Yellowknife doctor Courtney Howard is president of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, and is one of over 170 doctors who signed the letter.
In the media : “‘Eco-anxiety’ is a crushing weight for many young Canadians. And they say schools aren’t doing enough”
THE TORONTO STAR “During Yellowknife’s first Fridays For Future climate change march last fall, Dr. Courtney Howard spoke about her experience with a condition called eco-anxiety to “the most Yellowknifers I’ve seen in one spot.””
“Plus de 175 médecins, experts et professionnels de la santé demandent au gouvernement fédéral de rejeter le projet de mine de sables bitumineux Teck Frontier en Alberta.”
“There’s a moment when the diagnosis of climate change and what it means for health really lands. For me, it happened in 2012 as I read an article that made clear that we need to leave the vast majority of economic fossil fuel reserves in the ground or risk an unlivable world within the lifetime of today’s children. I finished the article curled up in the fetal position around my eight-month-old daughter. For months afterwards my first thought upon awakening was of how her prospects for the future had changed. I had trouble concentrating, and every new data point in terms of temperature predictions was a punch to the gut.”
“Increasing awareness of the urgency of climate change, led by the youth climate movement, and growing felt impacts of the health effects of climate change, including the devastating bushfires in Australia, are fuelling a global increase in interest in the concepts of “eco-anxiety” and “ecological grief.” How to cope with these emotions personally, and how to help our patients? “
Dr Danielle Martin “phones a friend” to consult Dr Howard about the health impacts of climate change, including Lyme Disease, hay fever, wildfires and more.
CTV NEWS “VANCOUVER — Canadian medical schools have not adequately addressed the urgent need for training related to planetary health and climate change, and members of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students say that must change.”
MACLEAN’S MAGAZINE “What will it take for popular opinion to catch up with the terrifying science? We talk to Canada’s top climate change experts.”