Climate Resilience and Health
The Connection Between Climate Change and Health
Climate change is happening right now, and the risks associated with it are increasing. Rising temperatures, shifting precipitation patterns, and extreme weather events are affecting each and every one of us.
Unprecedented heat, wildfires and floods are creating a new climate reality for critical infrastructure, such as hospitals, roads and utilities. Global climate projections indicate that our health facilities’ ability to support health service delivery may be compromised during floods, high winds, wildfires and heat waves. In addition, our communities may experience increased health risks due to a lack of clean air and water, heat stress and vector-borne diseases.
The diagram to the left highlights the link between climate change hazards, health facilities, service delivery and communities.
The cascading impacts associated with climate change may result in compromised health services delivery.
What we have here is climate change risks becoming patient care risks.
We must act and build capacity for a sustainable healthy future, and in order to achieve this, we must build resilience. The time is now.
Resilience is the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events. People and communities with strong adaptive capacity have greater resilience.
Climate resilience is our capacity as a society to absorb stresses and maintain function in the face of climate change hazards as well as our ability to adapt, reorganize, and evolve into more desirable configurations that improve the sustainability of our system.
What is BC Doing?
In 2016, the Ministry of Health and the BC Climate Action Secretariat highlighted how cascading impacts on critical infrastructure – including health facilities, power, water and roads – can disrupt health service delivery and patient care.
Climate & Health Factsheets
The BC Climate Action Secretariat has developed a series of Factsheets that address the impacts of climate change on health. Clink on the image to learn more.
Reducing climate risks is critical for health care and those it serves, and reducing greenhouse gases emissions in parallel is critical for climate resilience.
Policies, Plans & Acts
Health care organizations have already been or may be mandated to:
- Demonstrate public sector leadership, and achieve new GHG reductions targets, as per CleanBC (2018);
- Report climate risks and actions to reduce risks in our 2018 Carbon Neutral Action Reports;
- Conduct net zero energy assessment for capital projects, as per the Ministry of Health (2018);
- Produce 10-year emission reduction and adaptation plans, as per the Climate Leadership Plan (2016);
- By 2022, conduct and integrated climate and health vulnerability assessment and develop an integrated climate adaption plan, with Health Canada funding.
Climate Resilience in the Lower Mainland Health Care Organizations
The Energy and Environmental Sustainability Team within Lower Mainland Facilities Management is working collaboratively with the provincial government, health care departments in order to move towards a climate resilient health care system in BC.
Click on the program below to learn more about the work we are doing!